“The other” Ennio Doris, the great banker told by his daughter

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By John

«What a pride to be your daughter»! She is a motorcycle enthusiast daughter of a special father Sara Doris in «Ennio my father» (Piemme), dedicated to Ennio Doristhe great innovator of the Italian banking sector, founder of Mediolanum, who passed away in 2021 (he was born in Tombolo, in the province of Padua, in 1940). A story that oscillates between the language of interiority and that of exemplarity; which alternates, at times with a “fairytale” tone, moments of biographical and autobiographical re-enactment, with many lives living one inside the other, the result of Sara’s research into the archeology of her family, and others of “political” reading of the country .
Not just the story of a builder of dreams, capable of a vision of the future, but also of rural Italy between the two wars, then the difficult post-war period and then the economic boom. And Sara, vice-president of Banca Mediolanum and president of the Ennio Doris Foundation, to which the proceeds of the book are destined, takes on the responsibility of writing in the first person to talk about this great father, homo faber fortunatee suae: he built the success, Ennio Doris , as his son Massimo, CEO of Mediolanum in Italy, writes in the preface, but «success did not feed his ego, but rather his desire to do». Without ever forgetting the family history, because “when love is there it sheds light” adds Lina Tombolato Doris in the afterword, the wife Ennio has loved since she was a little girl.
It begins, Sara, with great-great-grandfather Valentino Doris, an exposed child, brought to Tombolo by the Charity Congregation of the Royal City of Vicenza of the then Lombardy-Veneto Kingdom. He grew up with a nurse and for a living took care of bringing animals to Mestre, he had “an honored lineage” and among others Alberto, Ennio’s father and Sara’s grandfather, who worked as an intermediary at the livestock market in that village, Tombolo, with a round and musical name, in which the Doris lived a modest and dignified daily life that united many families in Italy in the 1940s. Ennio and Udilla were born to Alberto and Agnese, there was war but they lived in the luxury of human relationships, the family was «lucky to have around a friendly world within a crazy world», relatives, neighbors, when newspaper was good for making a ball to chase barefoot in the summer through the streets of the neighborhood or to feed the economic stove on which the soup simmered. A “magician” with mathematics since he was a child, Ennio would have continued his father Berto’s profession if it hadn’t been for a bad nephritis which, at the age of twelve, forced him to bed for a year, with no distractions other than studying.
One of those “misfortunes that become fortunes” was his first kairos, the moment to seize; he would continue his studies, and that first day of school with a dress “inherited” from others and readjusted by his seamstress sister, would then be followed by sacrifices, hopes, renunciations, but also “magic”, perhaps because “until the end he had remained with a foot in that magical age when everything was possible.”
Guarding his talents, but also sharing them with others, with a determination even in times of crisis that always led Ennio Doris onto new paths: from the small village bank branch to Fideuram, at the time the only Italian company that dealt with of intermediation, from the meeting with Silvio Berlusconi to 1982, the year of their incorporation of the new company, Programma Italia, the first network in Italy to offer global consultancy in the savings sector, which fifteen years later would become Banca Mediolanum and then Gruppo Mediolanum Banking.
Because, he said, one could always do better, a belief which has now been passed on to his children who have taken upon themselves the Latin respondere: responding to the commitment made towards others by giving a guarantee with one’s word and one’s work.