Banking veteran to chair Italian alternatives firm

IDeA Alternative Investments has appointed as chairman Lino Benassi, whose chairmanships currently include Banca Italease and Credit Suisse Italy. IDeA plans to augment its private equity fund products with special situation, hedge, real estate and mezzanine products as well as to launch alternative investment firms in Southern Europe.

Lino Benassi has been selected as chairman of IDeA Alternative Investments, a joint venture formed in 2006 between Italian private equity firms Investitori Associati and Wise with Milan-listed alternative invesment firm DeA Capital.

Benassi has more than four decades of experience in Italian banking, having begun his career with Banca Commerciale Italiana, where he rose through the ranks to become managing director for foreign operations and finance in 1987. After a stint managing INA Assitalia from 1995 to 2000, Benassi returned to Banca Commerciale Italiana as chief executive and retained the role until 2002.

Lino Benassi

He is currently the chairman of Banca Italease and Credit Suisse Italy. He is also a director of  De Agostini, parent of DeA Capital, as well as of DeA Capital; Seat Pagine Gialle, the directory company backed by CVC Capital Partners, Permira, BC Partners and Investitori Associati; and Zignago Vetri, a glass and container maker.

IDeA AI said in a statment Benassi’s addition marks an important step forward for the firm “particularly in supporting the raising of new funds and facilitating the introduction of new management teams with the ability to develop new products in new markets”.

The firm has roughly € 2 billion under mangement and its products include private equity and hedge funds as well as fund of funds and co-investment funds. It plans to launch additional alternative investment firms in Southern Europe as well as products including special situation, hedge, real estate and mezzanine funds, according to Wise’s website.