Jean-Paul Elkann (28 December 1921, Paris – 23 November 1996, Paris) was a French banker, President of Compagnie Financière Jean-Paul Elkann (CFJPE).
Jean-Paul Elkann was the son of Montbéliard - born industrialist Armand Elkann (1882–1962) and his wife Berthe Bloch.
Jean-Paul was raised in Lycée Janson de Sailly in Paris. He was admitted to study at Polytechnique in 1940 but left France with his family to escape the anti-Jewish persecutions.
He continued his studies in the US and received an engineering degree from Columbia University.
Therefore, with his father Armand Elkann entered in the metallurgical industry. Soon after he became the owner and president of the company Vanadium Steel Italiana (from 1948) and Vanadium Alloys Steel Canada (since 1950) and Vice President Vanadium Alloys Steel (USA) (from 1953).
He married in New York with Carla Ovazza (1922–2000), heir to a Jewish banking family of Turin and Ettore Ovazza's niece, whom he met at Columbia University. They have a son Alain Elkann, born in New York in 1950, who in 1975 married to the influential Italian industrialist and principal shareholder of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli's daughter, Margherita Agnelli, from which Alain have three descendants, John Elkann, Lapo Elkann and Ginevra Elkann. Since Edoardo Agnelli's mysterious passing, Gianni Agnelli chose John Elkann as the heir for the family estate.
Jean-Paul after divorce, remarried in November 9, 1953, with Francoise Schuhl, with whom he has a daughter Brigitte Elkann.
Finally, Jean-Paul Elkann returned to France in 1953 and went into the fragrance industry. In 1962, he became the president of Parfums Caron. Thereafter, then he became the vice president of Parfums Givenchy (1980–1983), director of Christian Dior SA Group and director of several major French companies. He was also the president of the Consistoire israélite de Paris from 1967 to 1982 and then chairman of the Israelite Central Consistory of France from 1982 to 1992 and interim president of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF) in late 1982, replacing Alain de Rothschild died of a heart attack in October 1982.
Although being himself a non-practical Jew, he supported the Orthodox movement. And, as quoted Chief Rabbi Michel Gugenheim, Jean Paul Elkann told the leader of the Jewish Reform movement in the United States, Alexander Schindler:
"The only difference between you and me, Mr. rabbi, is that I violate the law, but I do not change it, and you want to change the law. "
He was also the vice president of the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of the Association de coopération économique France-Israël, Haifa Technion governor, administrator of Yabné school and administrator of the Alliance Israelite Universelle and vice Chairman of the Social Action Committee Israelite de Paris (CASIP).Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, 1988
National Order of Merit (France), 1996