The son of a well known Genoese boat builder, Andrea Corrado completed his Shipmaster examination at age 17, and by 1882 had advanced to the rank of first officer. He became a Captain shortly thereafter and became known for his exemplary ship maneuvering skills. This led to him becoming the head of the Genoa Maritime Pilots.
The first historical record of Andrea Corrado as a ship owner (and by extension investor) was in 1908, when he acquired the "Castagna".
By 1917, he had organically grown his fleet to five vessels; three steamships and two Brigs.
The fleet experienced heavy losses during World War I, with italy joining the Triple Entente, but through both strong cashflows and strategic diplomacy, he successfully rebuilt and expanded his fleet, taking advantage of vessels made available by the British Shipping Controller, an institution created by the Lloyd George coalition government in 1916. These ships were called Standard Vessels.
By 1919, his fleet had expanded through both direct and indirect investments in merchant vessels. When he invested indirectly, he did so through both joint ventures and equity stakes in other Genoese ship owners. In the latter case, he always held a controlling stake.
In 1931, Corrado was awarded the honour of the Knights of Labor, and by 1932, his fleet, operating under the corporate structures “Corrado di Navigazione” and “Polena” had grown to become one of the largest diversified private fleets in Europe. His ships were active in many Mediterranean ports and on both shores of the Atlantic.
In 1936, Andrea Corrado acquired ten additional vessels from the state owned “La Meridonale di Navigazione” and between this time and 1939, at the dawn of World War II, his fleet had grown to between 35 and 40 vessels according to historical records.
The fleet was largely destroying during World War II; many units were sunk by British intelligence, others sank from damage caused by naval mines. Others were confiscated by the Italian Royal Navy and used in the war effort.
Corrado was one of the first to capitalise on Marshall Plan financing to rebuild his fleet. His son, Giovanni Battista, who was a decorated pilot of military aviation, led a delegation of Italian entrepreneurs to the United States. They were received by US President Harry Truman, who agreed that warships would be made available as compensation for war damage. These ships were called "Liberties" but many in the Italian shipping community questioned the feasibility of successfully converting them for commercial purposes. Corrado was convinced that appropriate technical interventions could make them more suitable for merchant transport. For this reason, he decided to expose himself personally by defending this project in Confitarma (Association of Italian Shipowners); often in the face of strong opposition from other Italian shipowners. His efforts paid off, and Italy became a significant beneficiary of the Liberties program. The Liberties were instrumental to European post-war reconstruction, and subsequent economic growth. Corrado built out his fleet but also diversified into maritime insurance and real estate initiatives.
In 1961, Andrea Corrado and his son Giovanni Battista, oversaw the construction of one of the first modern dry bulk Merchant ships, characterised by scaled cargo intake and technology assisted navigation. Many of these technological advances paved the way for the super-bulker, and super-tanker era that followed.
Death and legacy
Andrea Corrado died in Genoa in 1963 and is buried in the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa. As a testimony to his significant contribution to the Italian Maritime industry, a city square was named after him in central Genoa. His history is recounted today in the hall of fame of the largest Maritime Museum in the Mediterranean, Galata MuMa.
In 1976, Andrea's grandson Francesco restructured the company and expanded geographically under the name of Gestion Maritime.
Danilo Carlo Fumarola joined the company in 2002, and took over as CEO of Gestion Maritime Group in 2010. As the first non-family member to run the organization, he shifted the company towards an internal commercial and technical management model, whilst cautiously expanding the fleet size based on quantitative vessel valuation metrics. Fumarola implemented a Liability-driven investment strategy and an anticipatory approach to vessel design, whilst developing a customer-centric approach. He successfully transitioned the company from pure shipowner to full service shipping company.
Gestion Maritime investment Advisors was created to manage external capital from the Institutional investor community, and is co-managed by Fumarola and Richard George Stephenson, a seasoned investment management, alternative investment, Illiquid securities and financial risk management specialist who joined the Gestion Maritime Group as executive board member.
Fumarola and Stephenson shifted the focus of the company toward a formalized Shipping Investment Management approach, mapping the investment process to that of the private equity and value investing industries. They also initiated a series of joint ventures with data and software providers to bolster internal financial risk and investments management functions. Financial risk management is now fully integrated into the commercial management functions of the firm.
Stephenson holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of London, a master's degree in Risk and Investment Management from EDHEC Risk Institute, where he came top of the class, and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.
The great grandson of founder Andrea Corrado, Giovanni Batista Corrado serves as President of the company.
Gestion Maritime has offices in Genoa, Monaco, Croatia and London and collaborates with maritime financial risk and investment specialist, Dr. Nikos Nomikos, at the Costas Grammenos Centre for Shipping Finance at Cass Business School. Dr Nomikos is co-author of “Shipping Derivatives and Risk Management”, which is recognized as the industry reference text for the risk management of shipping investments. Dr Nomikos serves as academic lead for the investment committee, and his research is integral to the risk and investment process of the company.