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Nicola Romeo was born in S. Antimo near Naples in 1876. He graduated in engineering in 1900 and spent some years gaining work experience abroad. He then returned to Italy where in 1911 he founded the company "Ing. Nicola Romeo e Co." to manufacture mining machinery and equipment.
n 1915 that company purchased the Portello factory and began manufacturing military equipment; World War I had started and the Italian government had increasingly urgent need of trucks and engines.
When the War ended in 1918 the company changed its name to "Società Anonima Ing. Nicola Romeo & Co." having taken over a number of smaller firms: Officine Meccaniche di Saronno, Office Meccaniche Tabanelli of Rome and Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali of Naples. Formally constituted by the notary Federico Guasti in Milan on February 3 1918, the new company proclaimed its purpose to be the construction and management of engineering, steel, agricultural, mining, chemicals and quarrying companies with particular emphasis on military, aviation, marine and agricultural equipment, internal combustion engines for all possible applications; aeroplanes, automobiles, locomotives and other wheeled transport.
As the memorandum of association made clear, Nicola Romeo had no intention of confining his firm to manufacturing cars though in the end it was cars the company was to become famous for. He also took care to surround himself with superlative engineers, men like Giuseppe Merosi, Vittorio Jano and many others.
In the Twenties, the company became involved in another crisis this time linked to its majority shareholder the Banca Italiana di Sconto. Indeed things got so bad that in 1927 there were even thoughts of liquidation. Luckily by that time Alfa Romeo had made a name for itself both in Italy and abroad and had established trade relations with America, Spain and Britain among others. Such a world famous company could not be closed down, especially since it could easily be rescued if it was thoroughly restructured.
However Nicola Romeo, chairman since 1918, would not accept the drastic changes intended and in 1928 he severed all connection with Alfa Romeo on the grounds of [irreconcilable differences. In 1933 the company was taken over by IRI, the Italian state holding company. The IRI plan for internal restructuring that would gradually restore the company to health involved the appointment of a Management Committee elected on a 50-50 basis by the shareholders and the employees. It was to be the Committee's task to draft new company articles and take measures to set Alfa Romeo on an equal competitive footing with other motor manufacturers ....

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