MILAN — Autogrill chief executive Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos has denied that Pinault-Printemps-Redoute has approached him as a candidate to replace Domenico De Sole as the chief executive of Gucci Group.

Tondato said although he is “honored” that his name has been linked to a well-respected company like Gucci, he has not been contacted.

Then why has his name surfaced?

“I suppose that if [PPR] wants someone who is Italian with retail experience, experience in the U.S. and a background in fashion, I would be one of the few people who fits this profile,” he hypothesized.

Tondato, who has about a decade’s worth of experience at Benetton, said he felt compelled to inform his employees that he is not leaving the company at a time of uncertainty. As reported, the Benetton family has said it is considering selling its majority stake in the roadside restaurant firm.

De Sole’s contract is up April 30. Indra Nooyi, president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, was said to be considered a top contender to succeed him, but she denied last month that she has been contacted by PPR.

Another potential candidate, Enrico Ceccato, chief executive at Italian watch firm Sector Group, also declined to comment last month.

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