Francesco Romani was born in Milan on 28 August 1960 making him a 51 year old Leo on Crystal Day. His father was a professor of chemistry at the University of Milan and his mother was a lecturer in history.
Francesco was raised to study, surrounded by the intellectual elite of Milan. He was always overweight from the prolonged dinner parties his parents gave; he was never going to be an athlete or football player.
He progressed naturally into the academic world, first studying chemistry but soon moving to physics, which he felt gave him the deepest possible understanding of the world.
He served in the Italian army as a conscript from age 19-21, an experience which gave him experience of and a taste for leadership.
After his PhD he quickly rose to the top of Italian Institute for the Physics of Matter and moved abroad, spending time in France and the USA before being offered the Directorship of CERN, one of the most prestigious and important jobs in all physics.
One of the reasons he has been so successful is the strength and subtlety of his personality. He is utterly charming and able to make friends with anybody, being extremely sociable and jovial, especially over dinner. But at the same time he has an extremely clear vision of what he wants to achieve from relationships and knows exactly how to get there.
He has steered CERN safely through some dangerous waters during the past four year, when funding was tight and the LHC project was going through some difficult times.
He wears expensive Italian suits cut to make him slim, a task which is not always achieved. He has a head of thick dark hair, dyed to hide the streaks of grey, a full Roman nose, a broad smile and heavy features. His hands are large and the fat makes his handshake soft and squishy.