MAPEI: 85 years old and still looking to the future

February 12, 2022

Milan, Italy - It was 1937 when Rodolfo Squinzi founded his building materials business in the outskirts of Milan with seven members of staff and the support of his wife Elsa. That is how MAPEI - Materiali Ausiliari Per l'Edilizia e l'Industria - was first established, setting off on a path that would lead it to become a multinational company championing Italian excellence all over the world.

Eighty-five years later, the facts and figures about MAPEI tell the story of how it has evolved: three generations of entrepreneurs, business operations in 57 countries, over 20 product lines to meet all the needs of the building trade, 84 production plants, revenue of 2.8 billion euros, and almost 11,000 staff.

The vision and passion of Giorgio Squinzi, at the helm of the company from 1984 to 2019, the constant support of his sister, the lawyer Laura Squinzi, and the insight of his wife Adriana, head of marketing and communications strategy, have forged the way ahead, laying the foundations for what are now the Group’s pillars: Internationalization, Research and Development, Specialization and Sustainability. Support for culture and sport have also helped secure close ties between business operations, the surrounding region and the company itself. These bonds are still the company’s most distinctive trait worldwide.

Since 2019, the Lawyer Laura Squinzi has been Chairman of the Board of Directors, which also includes Veronica and Marco Squinzi as Group CEOs, and Simona Giorgetta.

"We are treating this important milestone more like a starting line. We are ready to face new challenges, knowing that we can count on a team of the highest calibre,” Veronica Squinzi stated.  “MAPEI is a company with its heart in Italy and its eyes looking out across the globe. Since our grandfather took that historic first step in 1974 and built the athletics tracks for the Montreal Olympics, we have never stopped investing in new markets. Today we have 91 subsidiaries in 57 countries, and we have no intention of stopping there. We recently acquired the French company Resipoly and we are currently building five new factories everywhere from the United States to China."

Marco Squinzi went on to add: "Our deep commitment to innovation and research is still a major part of the entire Group strategy. We are a chemical company manufacturing products for the building industry and the aim of our 32 research laboratories is to come up with cutting-edge products to make building increasingly sustainable by focusing on durability and quality. We believe that extending the life cycle of existing buildings is the best way to consume fewer resources and produce less waste for landfills. We are also committed to making increasing use of raw materials with low environmental impact or secondary raw materials to help boost the circular economy, simultaneously striving to reduce the use of hazardous substances to a minimum in order to protect not only the environment but also workers’ health.”

There are countless projects and initiatives that have seen MAPEI play a leading role in helping communities grow all over the world: from the upgrading of iconic buildings, such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, La Scala Opera House in Milan and the Colosseum in Rome, to the construction of large infrastructure projects like the Panama Canal, and the company’s involvement in major futuristic projects like the ‘Arena del Futuro’, an innovative green-mobility project following the route of the A35 Brebemi motorway in Italy, based on dynamic induction electric recharging.

As it blows out eighty-five celebratory candles, MAPEI is retracing its own history but, above all, it is looking to the future, choosing to take on new challenges with the commitment, passion, high specialization and professionalism that have always distinguished the company and its people.



The early days

In 1937 Rodolfo Squinzi founded MAPEI - Materiali Ausiliari Per l'Edilizia e l'Industria in Milan. The company was focused on the manufacture of paints and building materials. The old headquarters in Via Cafiero, which employed seven people at the time, now house the Corporate Research Centre in Milan for research into developing new MAPEI products. The first product to be created was SILEXCOLOR, a silicate paint destined to become one of the most popular products in the entire MAPEI range. Subsequently, the company focused on manufacturing adhesives and products for the installation of resilient materials. Research, which has always been in the company's DNA, led to the creation of ADESILEX, an adhesive for bonding linoleum that was developed from Italeum.


Giorgio Squinzi paves the way for internationalization

In 1984, after Rodolfo passed away, his son Giorgio Squinzi, an industrial chemist, took over the reins of the family business, leading it into a new stage of its development. After initially entering the Canadian market by supplying products for installing the athletics track for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, MAPEI opened its first factory outside Italy in nearby Laval, Quebec. Giorgio Squinzi's brilliant idea of building company factories close to consumers on every continent, meant MAPEI expanded internationally, enjoying exponential growth over the next few years as it opened up new plants on every continent.

Giorgio was supported by his sister, the lawyer Laura Squinzi, and his wife Adriana Spazzoli, who took over the management of the MAPEI Group’s marketing and communication operations. This was coupled with constant investment in research for the main purpose of supplying users with safe, innovative products for even the most complex and demanding projects.

MAPEI's great contribution to the chemical industry resulted in the years following Giorgio Squinzi’s election as President of Federchimica (from 1997 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2011) and also the CEFIC - European Chemical Industry Association (2010), injecting fresh life into the sector. Fully committed to the industrial and business world, Giorgio Squinzi also served as President of Confindustria (Italy’s Industrial Confederation) from 2012 to 2016.

Looking to the future

"Never stop pedaling," Giorgio Squinzi's famous motto, has remained firmly engraved in MAPEI, instilling strength even in the most difficult of times. The children, Veronica and Marco, who had already been with the company since the early 1990s, took over from their father Giorgio as the company’s CEOs in 2019. Meanwhile, the board of directors currently includes their cousin, Simona Giorgetta, and the lawyer Laura Squinzi as President.

In the challenging state of affairs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the early 2020s, MAPEI proved to be a solid but flexible company, quite capable of adapting to change efficiently while remaining true to its own corporate strategy.

Today the Group operates in 57 countries, with 84 production plants based in 35 countries. Thanks to a range of products meeting all the needs of the building trade with a particular focus on sustainability, durability and high-quality products, growth has been constant.

Six new factories are currently being built around the world, in China, India, Egypt, Canada and two in the United States, to enable the Group to work even more closely with MAPEI’s customers.

Sport and culture: an inseparable partnership

The family's passion for the world of sport, and cycling in particular, took on concrete form in the sponsorship of a professional cycling team from 1993-2002 that was at the very top of all the international rankings for many years, with a total of 654 races won. As time has passed, its commitment to cycling has continued. Besides supporting youth teams and other events, such as the ‘Re Stelvio MAPEI’ mountain road race, MAPEI has been the Main Sponsor of the UCI Road World Championships since 2008.

Nowadays, the Group's largest investment in sport is Sassuolo Football Club. Initially envisaged as a commitment to the local ceramics district, this project is now more active than ever. Owned by MAPEI since 2003, the men's first team has gone from the Italian Serie C2 to Serie A and even played in the Europa League in 2016.

The love of art and culture, meanwhile, is the basis of an enduring partnership with La Scala Opera House. After initially signing up as an Officially Registered Supporter, close ties with this world-famous Milanese institution were reinforced by the company’s contribution to the restructuring and restoration of the Opera House with the help of MAPEI technology and research. In 2008 MAPEI became a Founding Partner, and from 2016 to 2019 Giorgio Squinzi was a member of the Board of Directors. Using this same approach, MAPEI has long supported various other prestigious projects to support art and culture. 

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