This summer, Diego Piacentini is heading back to his birthplace, Italy, the country where he lived for 40 years before he moved to America.
Piacentini, vice president of Amazon’s international consumer business since 2012, will be taking a two-year leave from the company to work in Rome for the Italian prime minister, according to an Amazon news release. He will serve as the lead for the prime minister’s digital technology office and he will do so pro bono.
“After 16 years at Amazon, it’s a way for me to give back to the country in which I was born,” Piacentini said in statement. “… I travel a lot anyway in my life, so it’s not going to be a really big change.”
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) February 10, 2016
During his tenure at Amazon, Piacentini was responsible for all international retail operations in Asia and Europe — part of the reason for all of his travel experience. He oversaw the launch of two new websites, Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.jp, substantially increased Amazon’s international customer base and revenue, broadened its product selection, and expanded its available technological features, according to his executive profile on Bloomberg.
Just last month, Piacentini was quoted in a Fortune story about his recent work with Amazon’s expansion into India. Amazon has ambitions of being involved in what it predicts will become a trillion-dollar Indian e-commerce market, so Piacentini was spending more time in India than in any other country in his portfolio, he said. As part of his explanation of the company’s plan to invest heavily in the Indian market, he cited regrets over not investing more aggressively in China when Amazon had the chance.
Business Insider reported that during Piacentini’s time at Amazon, he was paid the most of any Amazon employee, though the article also notes that this amounted to a salary of just $175,000 in 2012. That said, Piacentini’s signing bonus for Amazon was $2.3 million and included generous stock options. Those stock options have since made him Amazon’s biggest employee shareholder after Bezos, according to Fortune. Given his deep investments in the company, it’s easy to see why Piacentini plans to return in 2018.
Prior to his time at Amazon, Piacentini worked at Apple for 13 years, serving as its VP and general manager for operations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Before that, Piacentini was at Fiat Impresit in Italy, working in financial management.
Now he’s come full circle, returning to Italy this summer. He plans to take some key lessons from his time at Amazon to the PM’s office.
“Think big and stay focused on the customer,” he said in the release. “That’s what we plan to do in Italy.”