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War of Words Escalates Between Diego Della Valle and John Elkann

The two entrepreneurs made headlines on Wednesday with their latest spat.

DELLA VALLE V. ELKANN: The ongoing war of words between Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle and Fiat president John Elkann reached a new peak on Wednesday, when the two entrepreneurs made headlines with their latest spat.

As part of the bitter squabble over management and control of the RCS publishing group, La Repubblica quoted Elkann saying: “Della Valle is worried about RCS? RCS is a company that is doing well, I don’t think that Della Valle is worried about this. Rather, I think he is concerned about Tod’s. Which is not doing well, it has lost 20 percent on the Bourse since the beginning of the year. And especially compared with direct competitors such as Prada and Armani, it is a dwarf, a small-sized company.”

This story first appeared in the February 13, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Della Valle promptly replied, and, according to the daily, responded: “I read that Yaki [John Elkann’s nickname], returning from a long weekend, made statements on a subject that he notoriously does not know anything about — that of the working world and of the companies that are doing well, speaking nonsense.”

Della Valle invited Elkann to visit the Tod’s headquarters, “or to stay on for an internship, in case he wants to visit a company that produces excellent products with very well-prepared employees, with a very solid financial situation that has never sought state-funded wages.” Della Valle concluded saying there was “nothing personal” in his views on Fiat and the Agnellis (Elkann is a grandson of the late Gianni Agnelli) and that he “regretted to have to juxtapose [himself] to Yaki,” whom he’s known since he was a child. That said, he concluded that the Agnellis “had and took everything from Italy and the Italians and in the moment of need ran away in the half-light to settle best they could their personal business. Whoever behaves this way does not deserve respect.”

This was arguably a reference to the implications of Fiat’s deal with Chrysler.

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