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4th period

1912
1912

An awkward situation

Companies in Trieste are technically foreign to Italy. Generali entrusts its monopoly on life insurance to Ina. The company holds its nerve while others abandon the market.

1914
1914

Venezia, o cara

Renovations are finally complete on Generali’s Venice office, the Palazzo delle Procuratie Vecchie. Meanwhile, business is good: dividends are of 500 gold Francs.

1915
1915

Italy or Austria?

Italy enters the war and the company’s growth comes to a halt on both sides. Uncertainty emanates from both Rome and Vienna.

1916
1916

Certified relief

The Italian government grants Generali Italian nationality, now Rome’s head office can operate without limitations.

1917
1917

A company divided

After the Battle of Caporetto the Austrians invade Veneto. Generali decides to move its Venice offices to Rome, while Vienna continues to head up central Europe.

1919
1919

Trieste: finally part of Italy

World War I is over. For the first time in history, the company holds its General Assembly of Shareholders in Italian Trieste.

1920
1920

Changes at the top

Following the sudden death of Marco Besso, Edgardo Morpugo becomes president.

1921
1921

Postwar complications

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has created many new states. Generali creates new regional offices in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw.

1924
1924

A new, international Generali

Eight head offices abroad; more than 60 branches and agencies in 30 countries; 16 partner companies and subsidiaries. Generali is now present on four continents.

1925

Artist in residence

Generali begins its historic partnership with poster artist Marcello Dudovich. During more than a decade of collaboration his works enter the annals of history in the medium of poster art.

1932
1932

100 years of Generali

A century since its foundation, the company celebrates this historic milestone in both Rome and Trieste. And the reading of the company accounts contributes to the festive atmosphere: guarantee funds of 1.5 billion Lire, corporation stock of 60 million.

1935
1935

Generali from east to west

Expansion continues: 29 subsidiaries in Europe alone, four in the Americas, two in Africa and one in Asia. New investments in real estate, with assets totalling 700 million Lire.

1937
1937

Big Blue and the Red Lion

Enter the age of technology: following a period of early experimentation Generali’s new Electronic Accounting Centre is established, using the new calculators designed by Herman Hollerith, one of the original founders of IBM.

1938
1938

Dark times

New race laws spell bad news for Italians of Jewish origin and the shockwaves ripple within Generali. President Edgardo Morpugo gives way to Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, while scores of executives and other workers are assisted in relocating abroad.

1939-45
1939-45

A global catastrophe

The tragedy of World War II illustrated in the fates of three Generali executives: 1943, Volpi di Misurata, president, is arrested by the Germans; ‘45, treasurer Umberto Fegitz disappears with Tito’s troops; and Fulvio Balisti, a partner in Brescia, is arrested as a Republican, later released.

1948
1948

The president of the recovery effort

Antonio Cosulich, who had replaced the sick Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata following his arrest, is succeeded by the forward-thinking Mario Abbiate, who is able to pre-empt the insurance needs of the country.

1949
1949

A two-speed recovery

While in Eastern Europe virtually everything Generali is nationalised or requisitioned, it’s a very different story elsewhere. The company consolidates its position in western Europe and directs its attention to both north and south America.

Credits

The images that appear in this timeline are reproduced from and also appear in ‘The Time of the Lion’ (Generali, 2015) or from public domain. Generali would like to thank once again all those who have contributed to the wealth of imagery in this book. The images that appear in this timeline are from the following sources:

1914 - Venezia, o cara

Assicurazioni Generali building in piazza San Marco (Procuratie Vecchie), Venice from Novo Incepto Saeculo, Published by the Company, early 1930s

1915 - Italy or Austria?

Italian alpine troops during World War I -  National Library of France, Paris

1919 - Trieste: finally part of Italy

King Vittorio Emanuele in Trieste on November 3, 1918 from Università Popolare di Trieste 1899-1999 edited by Bruno Maier, 2000 courtesy of Università Popolare, Trieste

1935 - Generali from east to west

The Generali City - Pollione Sigon - Image for calendar courtesy of Modiano, Trieste

1938 - Dark times

Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata - Private collection