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MILAN — Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle is aiming to help Italian small companies and families impacted by the country’s economic crisis.
This story first appeared in the April 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Della Valle held a last-minute press conference on Wednesday to reveal that his luxury group will donate 1 percent of net profits on a yearly basis to support a number of activities in the Marche region, where the company is based.
He estimated that in 2013 the Tod’s Group will donate about 2 millions euros, or $2.6 million at current exchange rates. To put this into context, Tod’s profits rose 7.8 percent to 145.5 million euros, or $186.2 million, in 2012.
Della Valle underscored that the donations will benefit, in particular, children, young people trying to start a career and the elderly in need through a number of institutions, including municipalities, provinces and prefectures.
He also said that during its upcoming shareholders’ meeting the board will reveal the member who will be in charge of coordinating these support activities.
“I was thinking what to do concretely as both a lucky entrepreneur and an Italian citizen to restart the country’s sluggish economy,” said Della Valle. “Italy’s real economy needs an immediate support, and this is not a utopian solution but it can be realized very quickly with an immediate impact.”
Accusing Italy’s leading politicians of being “irresponsible” for the current situation — more than 40 days have passed since the parliamentary election and the country still has no government — Della Valle said that Italy’s most important entrepreneurs should follow his example in order to give concrete help to the country.
“It’s a painless sacrifice for big companies in good shape, but it can allow to quickly get in circulation a large amount of money, which can directly benefit small activities and families in need,” he said, making a plea in particular to the 40 biggest Italian companies on the Milan Stock Exchange, which, embracing this initiative, would donate a total of about 200 million euros, or $261 million, he calculated.
Della Valle also suggested that local banks could collaborate as well, for example, financing young entrepreneurs to create start-ups.
During the press conference, Della Valle expressed his view of the current political situation. “Napolitano [Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s exiting president] should extend his mandate and modify the current electoral law,” he said. “After that, we should vote again and we could finally have a stable government, enabling us to think about the future.”