Leading Men - Alessandro Benetton

Few companies have a track record in social and environmental activism as long as United Colors of Benetton. Alessanndo Benetton, the most recent family member to assume leadership of the Benetton Group, has not only met our expectations in this area, he has raised the bar even higher by leading the company into a partnership with Birima, a microcredit initiative launched by Youssou N'Dour, considered by many to be Africa's most famous singer. Their new program, called Africa Works, may go down in history as one of the boldest moves in corporate social responsibility to date given that the the program's microloans, often below $200, have a very small or no interest rate and require no collateral. With his Harvard Business School education and background in investment banking, we can all be confident he knows exactly what he is doing. There is no question that the Benetton Group's long history of connecting society, culture, and the environmentwill only develop further under Alessandro's leadership that continues the company's philosophy of commerce with a conscience.