Ernesto Bertarelli is a Swiss entrepreneur, also active in the fields of sport and philanthropy. Born in Rome in 1965, his family moved to Switzerland in 1977, where he now lives. He graduated from Babson College in 1989 and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1993.
The Bertarelli name is most closely associated with the global biotechnology firm Serono, SA, which was grown over the course of three generations of the family. Ernesto was appointed CEO of the company in 1996. Under his leadership, Serono shifted its focus from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, and over the course of the ensuing decade, revenues more than tripled to reach $2.8 billion in 2006. In 2007, Serono was sold to Merck KGaA of Germany.
Ernesto's current business interests include the B-FLEXION group of asset management and life science investment businesses. Between 2002 and 2009, he served as a board director of UBS AG. He is Chairman of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows and member of the Stanford Medicine Board of Fellows. In 2008 he was inducted into Babson College's Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs, while in 2019 he was awarded the Babson Medal. He was also awarded 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.
In 1998 Ernesto and his family established the Bertarelli Foundation to manage their charitable giving and philanthropic projects. The Foundation's focus was initially healthcare and life sciences, but in recent years it has expanded to include a number of other fields, in particular marine conservation, education and culture.
In 2000, Ernesto founded the yachting team Alinghi, which in 2003 won 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.