Paolo Altamura, Ellesse USA CEO From 1980-1988 Passes
Paolo Altamura, CEO of Ellesse USA, Inc. from 1980-1988 — Before the reign of Chris Everet and Boris Becker, Paolo Altamura introduced Ellesse Tennis and Skiwear to the US market. Paolo, and his wife Giovanna, Ellesse USA’s National Sales Director, supervised a staff of 50+ at their midtown NYC offices and showrooms, and lived in Greenwich Village. Besides Evert and Becker, Ellesse sponsored: Guillermo Vilas, Jennifer Capriati, John Lloyd, Pat Cash, Virginia Ruzici, Hanna Mandlikova, Aaron Krickstein and Rene Richards in tennis, and skiers and athletes like Allison Roe, Rod Dixon and Maurice Cheeks.
The Ellesse brand awareness and mystique were calculated efforts through the vision of Altamura. The Ellesse staff was more like a family than a work environment. The development of the Company during Paolo’s stewardship propelled their ski and tennis lines to the fashion forefront and created new markets in footwear, golf and exercise apparel. In 1988, Reebok bought Ellesse USA.
The Altamuras, who had homes in NYC, Italy and Spain, moved back to Milano. Paolo developed promotions for Breitling watches, COLMAR and Paul & Shark Yachting, among others. He also began writing fantasy stories, often based on geography, history or linguistics, all subjects he loved. He worked on new ideas all the time; he created art on his rooftop in Milan, and wrote stories in Beirut, while living there for two years. Dreams & Company is a book published of a number of Paolo’s writings and ideas. He just finished his second book at the end of 2007, “Il costruttore di sogni”, The Dream Builder, published in Italian, and containing his artwork and photographs. He continued to write and completed seven more stories after the books’ publication.
In addition to Italian, he spoke fluently in English and Spanish and mastered Portuguese in the last few years.
On May 22, Paolo succumbed to cancer, exactly one month after his second book signing. He is survived by his wife, Giovanna, daughter Serenella, and brothers, Vincenzo and Guido, all of Milan, Italy. He was 76.
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