Close filter

Andrea Illy

Andrea Illy, 3rd generation leader of illycaffè, describes the transition that had the strongest impact on his leadership identity.

  • February 2016
Andrea Illy
President and CEO, illycaffè


Competition changes markets. So in order to survive, companies need to continuously adapt, by changing what they do and how they do it. Something similar happened to me and my company 25 years ago when we decided to completely rethink our quality management principles and supply chain. Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the exponential growth of complexity in the socio-economic environment. This puts a lot of pressure on delivering and requires a special attitude, known as ‘overextension.’ It means working beyond one’s own capacities and is probably the most important source of personal development. And last but not least: how to get this done by thousands of people? The answer is leadership. But can you really learn leadership? I rather think that one pursues leadership, like a utopia. You’ll never reach it but you keep trying harder. Every day."

“Probably the most important source of personal development is ‘overextension.'"


About illycaffè

illycaffè was founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy as a small coffee roasting enterprise in Triest. Andrea Illy, born 1964, now represents the third generation at the helm of the family firm. Today, illy sells a single top-quality blend of espresso to 140 countries around the world, although the company’s portfolio also includes coffee machines, designer cups and accessories. Worldwide distribution is supported not least by a franchise chain comprising over 200 coffee bars and a network of top international baristi. Illycaffè takes a strong stand on sustainability and purchases its raw materials direct from local coffee farmers in South America, Africa and Asia.


Changing language
Close icon

You are switching to an alternate language version of the Egon Zehnder website. The page you are currently on does not have a translated version. If you continue, you will be taken to the alternate language home page.

Continue to the website

Back to top