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Roberto Civita was Chairman of Abrilpar. He was born in Milan, Italy in 1936 and graduated in Journalism and Economics from Wharton School from the University of Pennsylvania. (Photo: Grupo Abril)
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don Roberto

Grupo Abril Chairman Roberto Civita Dies at 76.


“It all began with a duck” Don Roberto Civita used to proudly say when describing the inception of Grupo Abril. 

Amazingly enough Donald Duck, the character that gave life to the very first of Abril´s magazines, is to this day the most successful of Disney’s characters. In his own way Don Roberto has leapfrogged to history exploiting some of the marvelous defining virtues of the famous cartoon character.

Indeed, from the moment he took the helm of the Abril Group to this day Don Roberto was the most persistent innovator in Latin American printed media. Like Donald he always kept the most optimistic and positive approach to life. Consequently, his daily routine was an adventure in knowledge searching. This led to a joyful embrace of new technologies which in turn made him younger than most people in his generation.

As a business leader he believed in team playing and team building. Like Donald with Daisy he had a love affair with the primer of Brazilian magazines: VEJA. This love proved to be fruitful. According to Forbes “In 1968, he founded Veja. Today Veja is Brazil’s biggest magazine and the best-selling weekly newsmagazine outside of the United States, with a circulation of over 1 million.”

He leaves his beloved company stronger than at the time his father trusted into him the leadership of the Abril Group. And by those means he has made a contribution to the development of his beloved Brazil.

He was a wise man; a gentleman and an inspiring father. As an editor he realized that media leaders have a special responsibility to their nation, community and society, as they have the power to weaken or to strengthen the institutional framework by communicating objectively opportunely and educationally.

He also believed in the power of education to transform the world. Among the partners in DirecTV Latin America he was the most enthusiastic about the development of an education channel. That enthusiasm led to the creation of his education services which today are a thriving public company.

He steps into history when Brazil is about to stage a great development take off. Perhaps we will soon hear Brazilians using the word civitism  to denote entrepreneurial might; principles and personal charm like many use “Donaldism” to denote a strong yet optimistic character. 

The helm is now en the hands of his children  Roberta, Giancarlo and  Victor who should prove to be his most accomplished work.

Beatrice Rangel is CEO of AMLA Consulting Group, a business development advisory firm in Miami. She wrote this column for Latinvex.

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