Peers, Ren and Ning, both born in 1958, both born in the province, Lanzhou and Shandong, respectively, but with very different paths of life and studies. Ning also studied in the US, boasts an MBA from Pittsburgh University, Katz School of Business, as early as 1987. Ren did not go beyond the university, also in Lanzhou, but his professional career is still an object of worship by the McKinsey’s guru because he was able to affect the inefficiency of the Chinese public sector by making it profitable.
Ren remained tied to his land so much that he bought the legendary Lanzhou spaghetti restaurant chain through ChemChina, those hand-pulled with a very complex and ancient procedure. The first was brilliant, for having created a chemical giant from scratch, from the small solvent factory Bluestar Ren had moved on to increasingly larger acquisitions. The path of the other is more extroverted and varied, between companies not all focused on chemicals and oil.
Ning was also the big boss of the state-owned food giant COFCO, vice president of real estate giant Vanke. Ren imagined a world with chemistry at the center. But later the experience in Cofco will be useful to him in the Syngenta chapter, leader of fertilizers for agriculture. More charismatic Ren, more and more in the shadows, discreet. However, both with important positions in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
The big step on Pirelli
Chemchina and Ren became known in Italy for the purchase of Pirelli in 2015 for 7.7 billion dollars, the highest ever for Italy, an icon of Made in Italy, of the top-of-the-range tire industry. which Ren had literally fallen in love with. Then came the Swiss Syngenta, the chemical fertilizer giant, $ 43 billion, the highest acquisition ever made by Beijing. A very onerous step, especially in more recent times when the Chinese economy in full Covid-19 has come to a halt.
Ren as a boy had been sent to Dunhuang in the desert during the cultural revolution. There he learned to resist. But giving way to Ning was not easy for him. Give him her jewels, much less. Ning, as president of Sinochem also took over Chinachem. And Syngenta, on July 16, 2018.