MILAN (Reuters) — Andrea Guerra, chief executive of Italy's Luxottica, is close to leaving the eyewear group after differences of opinion with founder and chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio, several newspapers said on Wednesday.
Luxottica, whose brands include Ray-Ban and Oakley, issued a statement saying, “The group is not commenting on today’s media speculation. At present no board meeting has been called. We can confirm that for some time the Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio and the cel Andrea Guerra have been debating the best strategic direction for the group.”
The company's shares were down 4.5 percent in morning trading.
Guerra, who earlier this year was tipped to become a minister in Matteo Renzi's government, is credited with helping turn family controlled Luxottica into the world's largest eyewear maker by revenue.
But according to a report in Corriere della Sera, relations between Guerra and patriarch Del Vecchio soured after Guerra's recent deal with Google to market its Internet-connected spectacles.
The paper cited a source close to Guerra as saying the next move was in the hands of 79-year-old Del Vecchio, one of Italy's richest men who owns 66.5 percent of Luxottica.
"He (Guerra) is a good manager and the stock is reacting. But the company was created by Del Vecchio, not Guerra," said Roberto Lottici, a fund manager at Ifigest who said he had bought Luxottica's shares on Wednesday morning.
Under Guerra, Luxottica has become a world leader in its sector through innovation and acquisitions, including the purchase of U.S. sports eyewear firm Oakley in 2007. Last year, the group had sales of 7.3 billion euros, or $9.7 billion.
Since he became cel in 2004, shares in Luxottica have nearly trebled in value.
Luxottica’s stable of icensed brands include Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Tiffany and Versace. The company has more than 7,000 optical and sun stores and its chains include LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and ILORI in North America and Sunglass Hut worldwide.
"'Dynasty' is all about gowns, the diamonds and the scandal, so it's a bit like the fashion industry. When we come to Cannes it's all about the red carpet dresses too, so it all fit really well," said designer @philippplein78 on the theme of his high-glamour resort 2019 show at his mansion in Cannes. #wwdfashion #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
"I think Spike is such a brilliant director because he holds up a mirror to society and reflects these issues, yet he doesn't shove it down your throat, he doesn't tell you what to think," says @lauraharrier on her latest film @Blackkklansman. Harrier was at the Cannes Film Festival – for the very first time – with @officialspikelee. #wwdeye #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
“I would think to myself, Are you happy? Yes, I’m wildly happy. I go to this studio every day and, in my inside voices, I’m giggling; I’m singing. Yes, it’s a lot of work, it’s a [huge] volume of material. It wouldn’t be for everybody. But I was very happy,” said soap opera star @therealsusanlucci of checking in throughout the years with her career trajectory. Lucci spoke to WWD about her decades-long career, love for pilates, motherhood and her QVC activewear line. Read Bridget Foley’s full piece on Lucci on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @celestesloman)
@balmain has taken a stand at the #cannes Film Festival, dressing 16 actresses at a press call for the project “Noire N’est Pas Mon Metier,” or “Black Is Not My Profession.” The multimedia project includes a book, photo exhibit and documentary, which aims to expose discrimination in the French and American entertainment industries. “The moment I was asked to participate, I knew it was right for me, and for this brand, to form a part of this moment,” Balmain creative director @olivier_rousteing told WWD. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
"I always feel curious and I feel like there's more to learn. But I think being relevant, feeling relevant, I personally always feel that there's just so much more to know. And maybe that's the key.” — @themarcjacobs #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty (📷: @patrickmacleodphoto )
“The most amazing thing about her is that, regardless of all the things that have happened to her, her spirit is so undaunted by all of it. She is the most cheerful person you will ever meet. She doesn’t see problems, she only sees solutions,” said @ajanaomi_king of activist Ifrah Ahmed, who she plays in a new film “A Girl from Mogadishu.” WWD caught up with King at Cannes — Head to WWD.com to read more about her new role, personal style and how she uses social media for causes like Time’s Up and Black Lives Matter #wwdeye
WWD asked a number designers to share their thoughts on what Meghan Markle’s wedding gown will look like this Saturday. Here, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli sketches his look. #wwdfashion #royalwedding #meghanmarkle