MILAN — It was a short-lived break for former Fin.part chairman Gianluigi Facchini.

Although Facchini stepped down as chairman last month, the company’s board turned around and named him co-chief executive officer, along with Silvano Storer, who previously was sole ceo. Facchini continues to own a 20 percent stake in Fin.part.

Facchini stepped down as chairman in April after auditors KPMG rejected the group’s annual results, citing “financial tension” in the group’s books. As reported, Fin.part named Ubaldo Livolsi as its new chairman, but Facchini remained a board member. A Fin.part spokesman said that, while Storer will oversee production, Facchini will be more involved in the overall managerial side of the company and will handle the relationship with Italy’s Chamber of Fashion.

Fin.part also has set up a special executive committee, which counts Livolsi and Facchini as members, to oversee small operations valued at less than $25 million. The regular board will decide on any transactions larger than that.

“Facchini is no longer free to decide on his own — this much has definitely changed — but his knowledge of the company is still valued,” said a source close to Fin.part. Another source said Facchini may have relinquished the post of chairman because his “image” with the banks that lent money to Fin.part was tarnished, but that he never really exited the company.

Facchini founded Fin.part in 1996 and embarked on an acquisitions spree that ultimately took on brands including Cerruti, Frette, Maska and footwear firm Andrea Pfister.

At the same time, however, Fin.part amassed a large debt load, which, at the end of the first quarter, stood at $467.2 million, compared with the company’s full-year 2002 volume of $526.6 million. A source close to the company said that KPMG is still currently “evaluating” the books and is expecting a capital increase of between $60 million and $80 million. At the same time, said the source, Fin.part is still set on selling its Maska and Frette assets.

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