Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International and founder of BRAND EU, the European Union Brand Centre, has been honoured in Florence, Italy, for his business career as an internet entrepreneur and for his philanthropic work in developing a stronger European identity and citizenship via the initiatives and projects BRAND EU® (The European Union Brand Centre) and Captain Euro®, Europe’s Superhero™.
The Florentine ‘Premio Pinocchio’ of Carlo Lorenzini (creator of famous Pinocchio character) includes categories for excellence in business, culture, sport and philanthropy.
The Award Ceremony, organised in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of Florence, RAI Television, Istituto Lorenzo de Medici and Erasmus programme of the European Union, took place at the studios of RAI TV in Florence. The Award was presented to Nicolas De Santis by Enrique Baron Crespo, former President of the European Parliament, Monica Baldi, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Montse Aguer, Director of Salvador Dalì Museum, and Massimo Fratini, Consigliere of the Florence City Council.
Past winners of the ‘Premio Pinocchio’ include: Ferruccio Ferragamo, President of Salvatore Ferragamo spa, Vittorio Sgarbi, cultural commentator and television personality, Rocco Forte Hotels, Maria Cristina Gribaudi of H-farm, Maria Letizia Sebastiani, director Biblioteca Nazionale di Venezia, Andrea Barducci, President of Florence Region, Fulvio Pierangelini, Italian chef, Roberto Innocenti, artist, Cecile Hollberg, Director Galleria Dell’Accademia art museum in Florence, Gabriele Rossetti, skeet world champion, Eric Buffat, music composer and Pippo Zeffirelli of the Franco Zeffirelli Foundation.
“Pinocchio is an Italian but also a global brand and its narrative describes how a wooden puppet manages to make his dream come true and become a real boy, despite the hardships and adventures of life. It is a metaphor for the lives of all peoples. I am honoured to receive this Italian and Florentine award for my career and my work towards making Europe’s brand stronger and more accessible to its citizens. I thank the City of Florence and the Pinocchio Cultural Association for this excellence Award.” said Nicolas De Santis.
Work to create a stronger European identity
Nicolas De Santis recognised many years ago the importance of fostering a European identity to improve citizen involvement in the project of the European Union. He warned EU institutions that without a strong EU identity, the project was at risk. Now with Brexit and extreme nationalism on the rise, Europe needs to focus on its own identity.
His work to improve brand Europe, includes the creation of BRAND EU®, the European Union Brand Centre and Captain Euro®, Europe’s Superhero comic character. Both projects develop and support the development of a European identity and strengthen citizen involvement in the future of the EU.
As an internet entrepreneur, Nicolas De Santis has been involved in major technology start-ups, like beenz.com (the first ever digital currency) and opodo.com, one of the world’s largest travel portals, reaching €1.2 billion in gross sales. As a strategy advisor and the CEO of Corporate Vision, the strategic visioning consultancy, he has develop several frameworks to prepare companies for the future. As part of his role as President of Gold Mercury International, the global think tank and Award, he has developed several philanthropic projects to advance global governance, including GLOGO, the global governance monitoring system.