After taking a degree in philosophy and letters at the Università Cattolica in Milan, Cologni pursued a career both as a man of culture and as an entrepreneur.
While he was professor of history of performing arts, he started to write on the history of the theatre, luxury products, applied arts, watchmaking, jewellery and artistic crafts of excellence. He still collaborates as a columnist with many newspapers and magazines and promotes various high level publications.
He founded and directed the international magazine Cartier Art.
He is head editor of Collector's Island, Vacheron Constantin’s periodical dedicated to the art of collecting, and of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Yearbook.
He is also head editor of the magazine Mestieri d'Arte & Design - Arts & Crafts & Design, an editorial project developed by the Cologni Foundation with Swan Group.
In 1995, he created the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art (Milan), of which he is the President, with the aim of protecting and promoting the rich cultural, social and economic heritage of artistic craftsmanship.
Encouraging the dialogue between craftsmanship and design, the Cologni Foundation sustains the growth of tomorrow’s masters, accompanying them in the transition from school to work and from workshop to enterprise.
In 2004, Franco Cologni founded the Creative Academy in Milan, Richemont Group’s international school of design and creative management, of which he is Chairman.
As an entrepreneur, in over forty years Cologni has built expertise in the field of luxury goods. His long experience started in 1973, when he founded Les Must de Cartier Italia (the first branch of Cartier in the world).
He went on to become Managing Director, then Vice President and eventually Chairman of Cartier International. When the French maison was acquired by Richemont, Cologni took on the role of Executive Director of the jewellery and watches division.
In the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, Cologni is now Non-Executive Director and member of the Strategic Committee.
He is currently Honorary President of Richemont Italia Spa. He has been President of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, where he now holds the position of Chairman of the Cultural Committee.
In France, he was named Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite, Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Officier de la Légion d'Honneur for his contribution to culture and economics.
In 2002, he was named Cavaliere del Lavoro in Italy for his outstanding entrepreneurship and cultural expertise.