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Luigi Degli Esposti passed away

Founder of AIRP and a great innovator in everything he did, he left an indelible mark in the world of tires with his unique style, a combination of competence and passion

Renzo Servadei

On April 25, surrounded by the love of his family, Luigi Degli Esposti died at the age of 82, a unique figure in the world of tires.

A great innovator, he held senior positions at a major tire retreading company at a very young age. In the early sixties he left this role to start a much more than pioneering activity for those days, to create, as the Secretary, the Italian Tyre Retreaders association, AIRP, which he founded in 1963.


At that time, the tire retreading industry experienced a profound development: during the golden years in Italy there were more than 350 companies. To the retreaders he gave - it was possible back then - an associative list, a national labor contract and began a long battle to determine what he called "discriminatory standard" rules to ensure that the quality of retreads would become increasingly stringent. After AIRP, in 1970 Federpneus, the Italian Association of Tyre Specialists, was added to the joint secretariat.

Again his work was all aimed at promoting the professional growth of the category particularly the value of services which, as he used to say, are the real "product" of the Retailer. In 1976 the Secretariat was joined by AICA, the Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association. Even then, the Italian industry was very strong, but in many cases, this strength was not fully appreciated. Today it is not so, but back then many companies worked as equipment manufacturers and sold their goods with foreign brands. For many years, he was also the secretary of FIR, the engine rebuilders association.


Successful activities were also born from the historic core of associations, among which a special place is occupied by the magazine PNEURAMA, of which he was not only Managing Director, but also its editor and its heart. He always had a special relationship with the magazine, in which he also loved to write numerous articles, some written by him, others with a nom de plume, but with his unique style that identified them as belonging to him. The whole thing stemmed from a deep love for the industry, for that "smell of rubber" that you either love or hate, and that the man known as “il ragioniere” felt like his own.

Today, in times where ethics give way to calculations, PNEURAMA still follows the "limits" established by “il ragioniere”. Ever since it was founded, PNEURAMA has been one of the few magazines in the world to forgo business advertising on the front cover preferring instead artistic photos, different themes every year, just to avoid overexposing this or that brand and emphasizing the independence of the publication.

This lively association produced a trade show, first under the SARP – SIAC banner, and then Autopromotec, which Degli Esposti led both during the pioneer years as well as in the later period of development, setting standards that are still fundamental to the success of the event. When he left the show in fact, recalling how economic cycles are divided into 4 phases, birth, growth, maturity and decline, he recommended to those who would walk in his footsteps to consider further developments in order to avoid the fourth phase. It is difficult to describe “il ragioniere”, a veritable volcano of ideas, often ahead of his time, ideas that he promoted with passion. Passion, a quality he displayed even in human relationships and it is this aspect that we will miss the most. A unique man, and not only in the world of tires.


We have received dozens of emails and phone calls that remember Luigi Degli Esposti, and since we do not want to disappoint anyone, we decided to publish one of these for all. Guido Testa, one of the most original authors of the magazine that many will remember for his column "Taccuino indiscreto" (Indiscreet Notebook). Promotec, as a firm, has also decided to establish a scholarship named after him. A name that deserves to be remembered.



Farewell Gigi,

it has been more than forty years since we met. I came from the world of finance and there I returned, but only after spending twenty years in the field of tires, as your close associate, even for the long-term professional partnership with PNEURAMA. I saw the birth and growth of your many creatures : AIRP, AICA, Federpneus and PROMOTEC, your pride and joy, that gave you success and satisfaction. Your commitment to the industry has been exemplary. As a professional figure you were a symbol for the industry, which benefited from your reflected light. I recall with great pleasure the two reunions with loved and mutual friends finally being able to welcome you in Genoa, after many meetings in Bologna, where we worked hard, but were united by a juvenile attitude. You left for a distant country, preventing us from handing you a final farewell as we all would have liked, but we were comforted to know that you were assisted by your dear Gabriele and sweet Anna. Sic transit gloria mundi, Manzoni wrote, when a Great person leaves forever. Such is life. But as for me and the friends of the old guard (as age leads to memories), we will miss you very much.

Guido Testa

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