Claudio Stefani Giusti

My name is Claudio Stefani Giusti, and I am the owner and CEO of Acetaia Giusti, representing the 17th generation of the Giusti family.

Mr. Giusti you are one of the member of the Henokiens Association, could you please present yourself to our readers?

> Claudio Stefani GIUSTI : My name is Claudio Stefani Giusti, and I am the owner and CEO of Acetaia Giusti, representing the 17th generation of the Giusti family.
I was born in Modena in 1973 and graduated in Management Engineering. Before joining Acetaia Giusti in 2005, I spent 8 years working at Accenture as a Business Consultant, traveling across Europe and specializing in process reengineering for various large firms.
I have a passion for music, theatre, and above all people, anthropology and world cultures. This, together with an (easy!) passion for food, gave me a chance to realizing myself as an individual in creating a company with people at its core and their personal development, both as individuals and as professionals

Can you present your company and its activities?

> CSG. : Acetaia Giusti is the oldest producer of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, with its founding dating back to 1605. Today, our brand is recognized as a leader in the premium balsamic vinegar segment. We produce an extensive range of balsamic vinegar with varying qualities and aging processes, utilizing wood casks, some of which have been owned by my family for centuries. Our rich history serves as the cornerstone of our brand's narrative, tracing back to medals awarded in the European exhibitions of the late 1800s and the recognition as the official supplier by the King of Italy. Despite this long history, Giusti is a dynamic company with an average age of 30 years among our team members. We constantly innovate to promote our brand, share the culture of balsamic vinegar, and celebrate Italian food and lifestyle. Our efforts extend both nationally and internationally, with 70% of our production being exported to 85 countries.

Which have been the outstanding events for your company in the recent years?

> CSG. : Strategic Transformation (Since 2005): Since 2005, we initiated a rapid expansion and a significant shift in how we presented our products to the market. This pivotal decision involved removing balsamic vinegar from the traditional casks and elevating it into an iconic product, harnessing and enhancing its rich heritage.

Production and Turnover Growth: Alongside our strategic transformation, we have achieved substantial growth in production and turnover. This was accomplished through a continuous increase in the number of casks and the aging process, with a remarkable tenfold expansion since 2005.

Company Museum Opening: One of our noteworthy achievements was the establishment of the Company Museum, which is now visited by approximately 30,000 visitors annually. This museum provides a unique opportunity to explore our history and heritage.

Flagship Stores: We have expanded our presence by opening Giusti Flagship stores in key locations such as Modena, Bologna, Milan, and Seoul. These stores serve as hubs to showcase our products and engage with our customers.

Prominent Product Placement: Our products have had the honor of being presented and used as individual gifts for guests at major events, including the UN Gala Dinner and the Venice Film Festival. This recognition underscores the quality and prestige of our offerings in the culinary world.

Could you give us some indications about your major projects in a medium or long term?

> CSG. : One of our key objectives is to continually find innovative ways to promote and preserve the tradition and values of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Additionally, we're in the process of establishing an internal laboratory to host students from Italian and American universities. This initiative is aimed at fostering new talent in our industry and investing in the future.

How can you explain the longevity of your company?

> CSG. : The longevity of our company can be attributed to the deep-rooted connection between Balsamic Vinegar and our home, Modena. This product has been an integral part of our region's culture and heritage for generations. It holds a unique charm that has not only endured but has also convinced each successive generation to embrace and carry forward the tradition of Balsamic Vinegar production. I believe that this enduring appeal, combined with our family's dedication, has been the key to our company's longevity.

Could you say that this extraordinary longevity is an asset in your customer relations?

> CSG. : Certainly, it is. When presenting a traditional food product, being able to say that we have been producing it for 400 years is an extraordinary asset. We also place great importance on building long-lasting relationships with our clients, whom we view as partners in cultivating a passion for our brand and our product.

Do the traditional values guiding the firm constitute an advantage as regards research and innovation?

> CSG. : Indeed, our traditional values serve as an advantage when it comes to research and innovation. Our core values revolve around the pursuit of beauty in its various dimensions, encompassing the quality of the product, the quality of everything associated with it, nurturing strong relationships, cherishing our heritage, and, most importantly, respecting, caring for, and empowering individuals while recognizing and harnessing their talents. These values coexist harmoniously with our commitment to both tradition and a continuous pursuit of research and innovation. They provide a solid foundation upon which we can build, evolve, and adapt to meet the ever-changing demands and opportunities in our industry

Which are the most important traps, that your company must avoid in order not to loose its independence?

> CSG. : With the rapid growth of our staff, we must work diligently to preserve the team spirit and dedication we currently have. Our ongoing focus remains on placing people at the center of our efforts, attracting top talents, and providing an excellent environment for their growth and development. To achieve this, we are establishing partnerships with Italian and U.S. universities to engage with the next generation and continue attracting them.

Did over the centuries the strong will of your family to keep its independence require very difficult decisions?

> CSG. : I am deeply grateful that this company has remained under family ownership throughout the centuries, and I am committed to preserving our independence. I firmly believe that maintaining family ownership is the most effective governance structure for ensuring that our core values remain at the forefront. This, in my view, is the fundamental reason behind our enduring success.

Is the transmission of the firm to a family member governed by clearly established rules?

> CSG. : The transmission of the firm to a family member is a process that we believe should be adapted to the unique context of the era in which it takes place.

Is the new generation already working in the firm?

> CSG. : The new generation is still quite young. However, it's remarkable to witness their high level of engagement in the company's future and the dynamics of a family business.

Do you have a message to communicate to all those who would like to start their own family business?

> CSG. : I would recommend studying all competitors and thoroughly analyzing the market. Then, the focus should be on discovering their unique competitive advantage and, most importantly, establishing a clear brand identity. I firmly believe that a business's success, particularly if it's a family business, is closely tied to its ability to define and communicate its identity in the market while consistently upholding it.

I want to emphasize that people are the cornerstone of any successful venture. To build a resilient and enduring company, it's essential to cultivate trust—and I would even go as far as to say, love—with the individuals who will be your companions on this journey.