Roberto Cingolani


Chief Executive Officer & General Manager

Roberto Cingolani was appointed Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Leonardo S.p.a. on 9 May 2023.

He was born in Milan on 23 December 1961. He is married and has three children.

In 1978, 1979 and 1980, he was National winner and European finalist of the 10th,11th and 12th European Philips Contest for Young Scientists and Inventors. In 1980, he was awarded by the Certificate of Distinction at the European final of the 12th Contest held in Amsterdam.

In 1985, he graduated from the University of Bari with a degree in Physics. In 1989, He was awarded a PhD (“Diploma di Perfezionamento”) in Physics at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (Thesis on Frequency and density dependent optical transitions in quantum heterostructures).

From 1988 to 1991, he was staff member at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany.

Since 1991, he was a Professor of Physics at the University of Salento, where he was appointed Full Professor of Experimental Physics in 2000.

In 1996, he was a Visiting Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA (ref. Prof Hadis Morcoc).

In 1997, he was a Visiting Professor at Tokyo University, Japan (Ref. Prof. Yasuhiko Arakawa).

In 2001, he founded the National Nanotechnology Laboratory (NNL) of the National Institute for Physics of Matter (INFM) in Lecce (Italy) that became one of the largest interdisciplinary nanotechnology centres in Europe, developing joint R&D programmes with several European companies (over 200 staff members from 15 countries).

In 2006, he was appointed Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). IIT is a public/private Foundation constituted jointly in 2004 by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of University and Research to develop applied research and technology transfer programmes of strategic interest for the national industry. To this aim, from 2006 and 2018, he developed the interdisciplinary research strategy of IIT merging robotics, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and nanotechnology. In this period, IIT reached a staff of approximately 1,900 people from 60 countries and built lab facilities exceeding 60000 sqm in the Genova headquarters and in 10 satellite laboratories in Italy and abroad. A patent portfolio of more than 800 national and international patents and over 30 start-up companies were built by IIT after the completion of the start phase (2011-2018). In the same period, IIT established about 30 joint industrial R&D facilities with several national and international companies such as Nikon, Sony, Danieli Automation, Camozzi Group, INAIL, Moog and many others.

Roberto Cingolani’s scientific activity has covered different fields over the years:

  • Material science, quantum technologies (1985-1995)
  • Nanofabrication technologies for electronic and optical quantum (1990-2000)
  • Molecular nanotechnologies for plastic photonics, LED technologies, organic-LED and plastic electronic devices (1998-2003)
  • Biosensors, bio-electronic devices (2003-2008)
  • Nanochemistry, new composite materials, biodegradable materials, multifunctional materials (since 2009)
  • Robotics, artificial intelligence, human machine interactions (since 2006)

Roberto Cingolani is author and co-author of more than 1,100 papers in international journals and holds over 100 patents in the fields of Materials Science, Semiconductor Technologies, Nanotechnologies, Chemistry of Materials, Sensor Technologies, Optoelectronics and Photonics, Robotics (Bibliometric indexes quoted by Google scholar about 40,500 citations, Hirsch index H=100 in June 2023).

In 2019, he was appointed the Chief Technology & Innovation Officer of Leonardo, where he coordinated: (i) the corporate Research & Development, (ii) the Innovation strategies, (iii) the Digitalization of the company and the ICT, and (iv) of the global Sustainability strategy. In Leonardo, he launched the new R&D facilities denominated Leonardo’s Labs (around 200 R&D researchers) and the new High Performance Computing Facility (the Supercomputer davinci-1, 5 Petaflop machine) for the digital transformation of Leonardo.

In February 2021, he was appointed Minister for the Ecological Transition in Mario Draghi’s Government. He was responsible for the Environment, Climate and Energy policy of the Government and of the related Mission 2 within the National Plan of Recovery and Resiliency. As Minister of the Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani chaired the G20 summit on Environment Climate and Energy (Napoli-July 2021) and the Youth for Climate World Convention (Milan-September 2021), and he Co-chaired the COP-26 (Glasgow-November 2021). In 2022, he was in charge of the National Energy Emergency Plan during the Russian Ukraine war, and of the national drought emergency plan.

Main awards:

  • In 2006, the "Guido Dorso" prize by the Senate of the Republic for Science
  • In 2010, the "Grande Ippocrate" prize by Novartis and the federation of scientific journalists for Research
  • In 2015, the "Premio Roma for the Development of the Country (section Science and Technology)
  • In 2018, the "Tech for Good" – Thinker Award prize by IBM

He was bestowed with three titles of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic:

  • “Alfiere del Lavoro “in 1981 (President Pertini)
  • “Commendatore della Repubblica” in 2006 (President Napolitano)
  • “Grand Ufficiale al merito della Repubblica Italiana” in 2021 (President Mattarella)

Other activities:

Roberto Cingolani has been a member of the Boards of Pontifical Academy of Life, Ferrari SpA, Illy-Caffè SpA and Industrie De Nora SpA.

In 2023, he was appointed Senior Board Director of the NATO Innovation Fund (a $1 Billion fund for innovation and technologies in the field of defence and security, sponsored by the NATO countries).