Ernesto Bertarelli is a successful entrepreneur in the fields of business, finance, yachting and philanthropy. Born in Rome in 1965, his family moved to Switzerland in 1977. He graduated from Babson College in 1989 and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1993. In 1996 he became CEO of the global biotechnology firm Serono, SA, which he soon inherited from his father. Under his leadership, Serono shifted its focus from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology and revenues increased from $809 million in 1996 to $2.8 billion in 2006. In 2007, Serono was sold to Merck KGaA of Germany.
Bertarelli’s present business interests include Kedge Capital, an investment management group, and Ares Life Sciences, a private equity vehicle which builds on his industry knowledge. Between 2002 and 2009, he served as a board director of UBS AG. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. In 2008 he was inducted into Babson College’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs. His philanthropic activities are conducted through the Bertarelli Foundation, devoted to non-lucrative initiatives in various fields.
In 2000, Ernesto founded the yachting team Alinghi, which in 2003 defeated Team New Zealand in Auckland to win the America's Cup, the first time a team had ever won the coveted sailing trophy on its first attempt. The victory brought the Cup back to Europe for the first time since 1851. Ernesto himself served as navigator in 2003 and as an afterguard runner and grinder in 2007, when Alinghi defended the America's Cup in Valencia, Spain. The event organised following his view of a completely new format proved to be an outstanding success.
In recognition of his success, Bertarelli has been given the Légion d’Honneur by President Jacques Chirac of France, and the Cavaliere di Gran Croce by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic.
Ernesto and his English wife Kirsty have three children and live in Switzerland.