Ferragamo Chief Norsa Wants to Step Aside After Decade in Charge

  • CEO's departure triggers leadership vacuum at luxury shoemaker
  • Norsa will remain in role until new CEO is appointed

Salvatore Ferragamo SpA said Chief Executive Officer Michele Norsa plans to step down from the Italian luxury company after ten years at the helm, triggering a leadership vacuum at the company.

Norsa, 67, will remain in the role until a new CEO is appointed, Ferragamo said in a statement after European markets closed Thursday. He’s leaving “to prioritize family and to focus on new professional interests,” the shoemaker said. He will stay with the company in a non-executive role until its annual shareholder meeting next year.

Norsa’s move follows the resignation last month of creative director Massimiliano Giornetti and comes as luxury-goods sector is grappling with challenges including a slowdown in Hong Kong and a slump in tourism following terrorist attacks in Europe. Ferragamo has responded by selling more high-margin small leather goods and having shallower discounts, which allowed it to report estimate-beating quarterly earnings last month.

“Norsa is one of the most recognized managers in the industry. He can really pick and choose” if he wants another challenge, Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said via email. “I’d be inclined to believe he may want to enjoy life and his family more going forward.”

Norsa was hired from Valentino Fashion Group in 2006 to take Ferragamo public. The company, whose shoes have been worn by Marilyn Monroe and Jennifer Lopez, sold shares in a 2011 initial public offering at 9 euros each. The stock has more than doubled since the IPO, falling 2.6 percent to 20.71 euros in Milan Thursday.

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