Albertine Brannon

Written by Albertine Brannon

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Ernesto Bertarelli is one of the most intriguing figures in the business and sailing worlds. Born on September 22, 1965, in Rome, Italy, Bertarelli is a Swiss entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid sailor. He gained prominence as the former CEO of biotech giant Serono, as well as being the owner of the sailing team, Alinghi, which won the prestigious America’s Cup in 2003 and 2007.

But there is more to Bertarelli than just his business and sailing accomplishments. In this article, we will delve into 20 intriguing facts about Ernesto Bertarelli that will not only shed light on his achievements but also highlight his philanthropic efforts and personal life. From his humble beginnings to his groundbreaking contributions in various fields, Bertarelli’s story is truly fascinating and inspiring. So, let’s dive in and discover the lesser-known aspects of this remarkable individual.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ernesto Bertarelli, the wealthiest person in Switzerland, made his fortune in pharmaceuticals and is also a talented sailor, winning the America’s Cup twice.
  • Bertarelli’s diverse interests include music, art, and aviation, and he is deeply committed to philanthropy, marine conservation, and empowering youth.
Table of Contents

Earned his fortune through pharmaceuticals

Ernesto Bertarelli made his mark in the business world by leading Serono, a pharmaceutical company founded by his grandfather. Under his leadership, Serono became one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

A talented sailor

Bertarelli is not only a successful businessman but also an accomplished sailor. He has competed in prestigious sailing races such as the America’s Cup and won the trophy twice as the owner of the Swiss team, Alinghi.

Wealthiest person in Switzerland

With an estimated net worth of over $8 billion, Bertarelli holds the title of the wealthiest person in Switzerland. His success in the pharmaceutical industry and other ventures has greatly contributed to his impressive fortune.

Philanthropic efforts

Bertarelli and his wife, Kirsty, are actively involved in philanthropy. They have established various charitable organizations and initiatives focused on healthcare, education, and environmental conservation.

Love for music

Bertarelli has a passion for music and has even released his own album, “Romanza.” He collaborated with renowned artist Marta Sanchez to create a blend of pop and classical music.

Family background

Ernesto Bertarelli was born into a wealthy Italian family and comes from a lineage that has a history of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Owner of superyachts

Bertarelli owns several luxurious superyachts, including the iconic Vava II. These extravagant vessels showcase his love for the sea and his luxurious lifestyle.

Recognized for his contributions

Due to his significant contributions to various fields, Bertarelli has received numerous awards and honors, including being appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

Investment in sports

Bertarelli has made investments in sports teams, including the purchase of the Swiss football club FC Gstaad and the establishment of the GP Ski Club.

Ventures in the biotech industry

After the sale of Serono, Bertarelli continued his involvement in the biotech industry by co-founding Waypoint Capital, a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in healthcare and life sciences.

Love for the outdoors

Bertarelli enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and cycling. He often spends his leisure time in the Swiss Alps, appreciating the beauty of nature.

Vast art collection

Bertarelli is known for his extensive art collection, which includes pieces from renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Joan Miró.

Support for marine conservation

With his passion for sailing and the sea, Bertarelli actively supports marine conservation efforts, striving to protect and preserve the world’s oceans and marine life.

Diplomatic role

Bertarelli served as the Swiss ambassador for the global “Clean Seas” campaign, an initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme to combat plastic pollution in the oceans.

Focus on empowering youth

Ernesto Bertarelli’s philanthropic efforts often center around empowering the younger generation through education and entrepreneurship programs.

Active involvement in healthcare initiatives

Bertarelli and his wife have established foundations and programs dedicated to improving healthcare services, especially in developing countries.

Love for aviation

In addition to his love for sailing, Bertarelli is also passionate about aviation and has a personal pilot’s license.

Commitment to sustainable practices

Bertarelli incorporates sustainability into his business ventures and actively seeks environmentally friendly solutions in various industries.

Impactful investments

Bertarelli’s investments extend beyond biotech and sports. He has also made impactful investments in companies involved in renewable energy and technology.

Strong family values

Family is of utmost importance to Bertarelli. He shares a close bond with his wife and children and prioritizes spending quality time with them.


Ernesto Bertarelli’s journey from pharmaceuticals to sailing, from business to philanthropy, showcases his versatility and deep commitment to making a positive impact in the world. With his vast wealth and passion for various fields, he continues to inspire and contribute to society in remarkable ways. These 20 intriguing facts about Ernesto Bertarelli highlight the many facets of his extraordinary life and legacy.


Ernesto Bertarelli is undoubtedly a fascinating individual, with a myriad of accomplishments and intriguing facts that contribute to his success and prominence in various fields. From his remarkable entrepreneurial ventures to his dedication to philanthropy, Bertarelli has made a significant impact on the business world and beyond.

As the former owner and skipper of the sailing yacht Alinghi, he achieved great success in the America’s Cup, solidifying his place as a prominent figure in the sailing community. His remarkable achievements in both business and sports are a testament to his drive, determination, and exceptional leadership skills.

Furthermore, Bertarelli’s commitment to philanthropy and the improvement of global healthcare through his family foundation is inspiring. His efforts to find solutions for rare diseases and support scientific research have made a significant difference in many lives.

Overall, the intriguing facts about Ernesto Bertarelli shed light on his dynamic persona, exemplary achievements, and the positive impact he continues to make in various realms. His story serves as both an inspiration and a reminder of the immense potential for success when passion, talent, and opportunity align.


Q: What is Ernesto Bertarelli best known for?

A: Ernesto Bertarelli is best known for his successful business ventures, particularly as the former owner and skipper of the yacht Alinghi, winning multiple prestigious sailing competitions, including the America’s Cup.

Q: What are some of Ernesto Bertarelli’s notable achievements?

A: Some of Ernesto Bertarelli’s notable achievements include being ranked as one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, winning the America’s Cup multiple times, and his dedication to philanthropy through initiatives such as the Bertarelli Foundation.

Q: How has Ernesto Bertarelli contributed to philanthropy?

A: Ernesto Bertarelli has contributed to philanthropy through the Bertarelli Foundation, which focuses on improving global healthcare, finding solutions for rare diseases, and supporting scientific research. The foundation has made significant contributions to various healthcare organizations and initiatives.

Q: What is Ernesto Bertarelli’s background in business?

A: Ernesto Bertarelli comes from a prominent Swiss-Italian family with a long history in pharmacy and healthcare. He built his wealth and reputation through his involvement in the pharmaceutical industry, co-founding the biotech company Serono.

Q: How has Ernesto Bertarelli impacted the sailing community?

A: Ernesto Bertarelli has had a significant impact on the sailing community through his ownership of the yacht Alinghi and his success in the America’s Cup. He has brought innovation, skill, and a competitive spirit to the sport, captivating audiences globally.

Ernesto Bertarelli's life inspires us to pursue our passions, give back generously, and cherish family. His remarkable journey showcases the power of philanthropy, from supporting healthcare initiatives to empowering youth. Bertarelli's love for yachting and the outdoors reflects his adventurous spirit, while his ventures in biotechnology demonstrate his commitment to innovation and improving lives.

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