MILAN — Yet another executive change is rocking Italy’s giant Luxottica Group. At the end of trading Friday, the Italian eyewear company said chief executive officer for product and operations Massimo Vian was exiting, three months before his term expires.
Executive responsibilities will be consolidated in the hands of executive chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio and deputy chairman Francesco Milleri, who will also take on the ceo role. Chief financial officer Stefano Grassi has been appointed to Luxottica’s board.
Of Vian, who worked at Luxottica for 13 years, Del Vecchio said he “brought passion and energy to defining a modern and innovative operations organization. Also thanks to him today, Luxottica has a strong team of managers who share the same focus on quality and innovation. We wish him every success in his future professional endeavors.”
Del Vecchio said the group’s reorganization and process of simplification, started more than three years ago, has been “almost completed.”
The founder of the company continued: “We have gone through a number of intermediate steps to give the organization the time to absorb and optimize the numerous business and production innovations. We are closing an extraordinary year, but my satisfaction is enhanced by the many positive signs experienced daily from our strategic initiatives: the new digital and e-commerce organization, advancements in technological innovation and processes, the opening of our central laboratories for the production of lenses and commercial policies that protect the value of our brands.”
Last year was one of record sales for Luxottica, which reported a 2.8 percent increase in revenues to 9.08 billion euros, boosted by gains in the retail channel and e-commerce.
“Today’s decision aims at making Luxottica even faster and more proactive, with the group’s leadership focused on strategies and an articulated geographical organization that is closer to the needs of all our customers. We are preparing for major opportunities ahead and approaching with the best set-up a new chapter in our history with our French partners at Essilor,” Del Vecchio concluded.
Luxottica and French lensmaker Essilor are waiting for antitrust clearance on the proposed merger, revealed in January. The merger is expected to create an eyewear powerhouse, named EssilorLuxottica, with annual sales of 16 billion euros.
Vian thanked Luxottica and Del Vecchio, saying that he left “close to the expiration of my term, aware of my contribution, and wish that the new chapter of the great history of Luxottica will continue to be rich and full of successes.”
Since the exit of longstanding ceo Andrea Guerra in September 2014, Del Vecchio has repeatedly shaken up the group’s management structure. Following Guerra’s departure, he established a co-ceo model, which puzzled analysts, and Del Vecchio returned to take on a more active role in the company. Enrico Cavatorta was promoted from his role of general manager and chief financial officer to ceo of corporate functions and interim ceo of markets. Cavatorta left after one month following disagreements on the governance structure.
At the time, sources said Milleri, a longtime friend of the family, clashed with Cavatorta on a number of issues. He is currently Yoox Net-a-porter Group’s chief financial and corporate officer. Del Vecchio took on the position of interim ceo until Adil Khan joined as ceo of markets in 2015, and Vian became co-ceo of operations and product. Khan left after only one year in January 2016 with Del Vecchio taking on executive responsibilities for that area until Vian became sole ceo.
Vian will leave receiving 6.3 million euros and signing a 24-month non-compete.
Luxottica produces under license for names including the Giorgio Armani Group, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada and Versace and also has a number of proprietary brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol.