Luxottica’s Del Vecchio Says No Family Plan for Management Roles

Luxottica Group SpA founder Leonardo Del Vecchio said he’s not considered his children for management roles at the company, denying a report that such plans led to the departure of Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra.

“I have never considered or even given the impression to anyone to involve my children or even my grandchildren in the management of Luxottica,” Del Vecchio said in an interview. “Kids remain always kids and it’s possible to fire an important executive, but it’s not possible to fire one of your children.”

The 79-year-old billionaire, who started the Milan-based company in 1961 and still owns a 65 percent stake, was speaking after newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore cited him as saying that Guerra’s exit made room for his family.

Del Vecchio has six children from three marriages, none of whom work for Luxottica. His eldest son, Claudio, 57, was co-CEO of the eyewear maker until 2000, though is now owner and chairman of the Brooks Brothers clothing chain in the U.S.

Luxottica, the world’s largest eyewear maker, said yesterday that Guerra stepped down as CEO after a decade at the helm following differences with the founder.

“I have respect for Guerra, but unfortunately our views of the company’s future diverged,” Del Vecchio told reporters. The departure was “without arguments, it was consensual.”

Del Vecchio will become part of a three-strong leadership team that will include finance chief Enrico Cavatorta as a co-CEO along with a person to be appointed from outside Luxottica.

Doubled Revenue

Cavatorta, 53, will oversee corporate functions, while his counterpart will focus on markets, the company said. Both will be supported by an executive committee led by Del Vecchio.

“Instead of just having one head of the company, we will have three,” Del Vecchio said at the briefing, adding that he is targeting annual revenue growth of 7 percent. “We did 10 years with Guerra. We will do another 10 with the triumvirate.”

Guerra, who was Luxottica’s first CEO from outside the Del Vecchio family, more than doubled the company’s revenue to 7.3 billion euros. He expanded the business globally and presided over a string of acquisitions, including those of the Oakley brand and Brazilian eyewear maker Grupo Tecnol Ltda. The stock has almost tripled since he joined in 2004.

The shares fell 1.2 percent to 40.36 euros at 2:53 p.m. in Milan.

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