Pasquale Natuzzi, chairman and chief executive officer of Italy’s largest leather furniture manufacturer, Natuzzi S.p.A, will be this year’s honoree for the lifetime achievement award by the Anti-Defamation League. He will receive the award in NYC on Thursday, June 23, 2011. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an industry leader who has distinguished himself with creative work to improve, enhance and benefit relationships among partners, vendors and employees. Honorees have shown their commitment to the home furnishings industry, their community and to mankind.
Pasquale Natuzzi, was the 19 year-old son of a cabinet-maker when he opened a workshop in Taranto, Italy to produce sofas and armchairs for the local market. He eventually moved to Matera, where he began to gain commercial experience and an in-depth knowledge of distribution mechanisms, on an industrial scale.
In 1972, Pasquale founded Natuzzi Salotti S.r.I. One year later, he relocated production to Santeramo in Colle (Bari, Italy), which continues to serve as headquarters for the Natuzzi Group brands sold worldwide today. In the early 80’s, during a trip to the U.S., the rising entrepreneur spotted an opportunity to “democratize” the leather sofa - long considered a product for the elite. By 1985, he established Natuzzi Upholstery Inc in New York, catering specifically to the needs of North American customers. Success in the U.S. included a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: NTZ) in 1993, which motivated Natuzzi on to establish his brand in other markets around the world.
In 1998, the Group’s strong ties to the American markets were affirmed by the grand opening of its North American headquarters in High Point, North Carolina, supporting more than 50 employees and four floors of showroom space. Designed by famed architect Mario Bellini, the magnificent building has quickly become a landmark of the High Point Market, the world’s largest tradeshow for residential home furnishings.
Natuzzi Group then went on to strengthen its presence in Europe and Italy - opening the first Divani & Divani by Natuzzi store in Taranto, Italy. Today there are 289 Natuzzi Italy stores worldwide (Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, China, Australia and the U.S.), and 371 Natuzzi Italy branded galleries, principally located in the U.S. and Northern Europe.
Today the Natuzzi Group is a world leader in the leather sofa business with sales of 514 million (Euro) in 2009, and remains the top Italian producer for interior furnishings. With 11 factories operating in Italy and around the world, the Group employs nearly 7,000 employees worldwide.
Fifty years after opening his workshop in Taranto, Pasquale Natuzzi continues to personally oversee strategic activities of the Natuzzi Groups brands. He’s intimately involved in product innovation, research, marketing, communications, staff training, and working alongside the Natuzzi Group’s managers to chart the future. For his effort and commitment in the region, Pasquale was awarded an honorary degree in Education Science in December 2001 by the University of Bari. In 2008, he was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in High Point, North Carolina, the first international recipient of that honor. He lives in Santeramo, is married, and is the father of five children.