May 28, 2024

golittleitaly

The Fashion Inside

From poverty to billions. Vale: Leonardo del Vecchio, founder of Luxottica

3 min read

Businessman Leonardo del Vecchio, who has died aged 87, established the eyeglasses business that owns manufacturers which include Ray-Ban and utilized his billions to turn out to be one of the most influential figures in Italian finance.

Del Vecchio rose from a childhood in an orphanage to amass a fortune of tens of billions of euros in one particular of the most renowned rags-to-riches stories in Italy’s post-war economic recovery.

At the conclusion of 2021, he was Italy’s second richest male, driving only Giovanni Ferrero of the Nutella-earning group, according to Forbes.

As is popular in Italy, Del Vecchio, the chairman of spectacles maker EssilorLuxottica, did not retire quietly and, if everything, stepped up his enterprise actions when he was in his 80s.

In 2018, he sealed a key merger deal to mix the Luxottica corporation that he had established in 1961 with France’s Essilor.

In addition, his Delfin keeping organization is the major shareholder in Italian financial solutions team Mediobanca and also has a sizeable stake in insurance provider Generali, placing him at the heart of the country’s boardroom intrigues.

Del Vecchio was born into poverty. His father, who offered fruit and veggies, died when he was young, and his mom handed him above to a Milanese orphanage when he was 7 due to the fact she could not pay for to provide him up.

He learnt metalwork in a tool store before placing up a small business giving elements for eyeglasses in Agordo, a village in the Dolomite foothills in north-east Italy exactly where land was available to new organizations.

Fashion AND Bargains

Immediately after a challenging start off when it practically went bust, the enterprise started building its individual glasses a ten years later on and expanded rapidly in the 1980s when Del Vecchio noticed the worth of making spectacles as a manner accent rather than a necessity.

He struck licensing offers with Giorgio Armani in 1988 and went on to function with other luxury brand names these as Bulgari, Chanel, Prada and Valentino.

Acquisitions were also section of the Del Vecchio method.

In 1999, the enterprise acquired the well known Ray-Ban model and went on to obtain California’s Oakley as very well as retail chains in North The united states and Australia.

Fingers-ON Manager

Like a lot of ageing Italian business owners, critics say Del Vecchio struggled to detach himself from his generation, failing to cede regulate and designate an heir.

He has six little ones from 3 interactions and remarried his 2nd spouse in 2010.

For a ten years he loosened his grip on his firm, handing over the reins to Andrea Guerra, even though remaining Luxottica’s chairman.

But disagreements with Guerra led to his unexpected exit in the summer time of 2014, and Del Vecchio returned to be the driving force at Luxottica’s Milan headquarters.

He turned increasingly concerned with even trivial matters, this kind of as telling workers how to pack containers for an place of work go, previous workers say.

Del Vecchio was also caught up in a sequence of boardroom battles and the EssilorLuxottica offer was adopted by a prolonged struggle over how to divide top careers amongst the Italian and French camps.

  • Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Claudia Cristoferi Crafting by Keith Weir enhancing by Barbara Lewis, of Reuters.
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