Where's Lapo? Shhhh! This Euro Wrangler Is No Eunuch, Ladies!

Italian playboy turned workaholic entrepreneur Lapo Elkann recently took on the appointment of Global Ambassador to the biggest hospital in the Middle East, the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, which treats roughly two million Jewish and Muslim patients.

“My companies, they all start with an ‘I’ and end with an ‘I,’” said Mr. Elkann, founder in the past year of both Italia Independent, the lifestyle brand, and Independent Ideas, the advertising agency. He was watching a soccer match at a sports bar on Bleecker Street, hours before he was scheduled to catch a plane to Paris. After a few days there, he was planning to visit Italy for four days, followed by a trip to Iceland, where he’s working on yet another mysterious venture.

“Iceland is another ‘I.’ Israel is another ‘I.’ Why do I care so much of Israel? I’m Italian, but at the same time I’m Jewish,” Mr. Elkann said. “And I think it’s a country which has a big potential. It proved it, but it can prove it even more. In the sense that it’s an important part of the world where if you manage, even in a little, little, little, little way to bring partially an energy which influences the peace process, it’s something extremely important.”

In case you’re not getting the message: “I like to support Israel,” said Mr. Elkann, grandson of the great industrialist Gianni Agnelli. “Nowadays, it’s more fashionable for many people to support Palestine. I think, instead, in one way or another, it’s not Palestine or Israel; it’s having a country which works where people have the opportunity of being together. … There’s a lot that can be done, and what can be done can be done through bringing good energy.”

Mr. Elkann’s plans for the hospital include … soccer fields! (Built with the help of a friend in the sports-field business.) “In the process of rehabilitation, you always have sports, and sports are something which unites,” he said. “It was our idea, it’s not a one-man show. I don’t believe in one people, I believe in many. It’s an idea which came out when we were talking all together. And I said, I proposed it, because I think that sports is an important process in rehabilitation for everyone. And for whoever is sick. So we started with that.”

He’s also going to help lead some tours of the hospital in the fall, and host fund-raisers when he can.

It was branding maven Steven Klein’s idea to bring Mr. Elkann on as a representative. “I looked at this, and I said this is about cool Jews,” Mr. Klein said, “and Lapo immediately came to mind.”

But enough about good works! Are there any new ladies in Lapo’s life?

“You know what, when you talk about women, stories break,” Mr. Elkann said. “But the best thing on women is not to talk about them. Lesson number one: Who talks about women, means he never delivers. Lesson number two: The less you talk about them, the better it is.”

smorgan@observer.com

Where's Lapo? Shhhh! This Euro Wrangler Is No Eunuch, Ladies!