Prada Group chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli on Friday urged the Italian government to support the small and medium-sized companies in the fashion industry face the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic. He underscored that the size of those companies “does not allow them to have negotiation power and they are beginning to have problems.”
Earlier this month the Prada Group suspended its retail operations in Russia, and Bertelli said the company will pay its employees in the country their salaries for three months and then “see how things evolve.”
The CEO was speaking at the two-day Future for Fashion event held Friday in Florence in the Salone dei Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio town hall. The event was organized by Confindustria Firenze, in collaboration with the City of Florence and the Centro Firenze per la Moda Italiana,
Last year Bertelli gave a tangible sign of his increased efforts to protect the country’s unique supply chain when the Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna groups joined forces to acquire a majority stake in Filati Biagioli Modesto SpA, which specializes in the production of cashmere and other precious yarns.
Further pointing to a strong relationship with chairman and CEO Gildo Zegna, Bertelli on Friday said he had taken “a small” stake in the Zegna company through a personal investment (not through the publicly listed Prada Group), expressing his high regard for the executive.
Zegna in December publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange after entering into a business agreement with Investindustrial Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition corporation, sponsored by investment subsidiaries of Investindustrial VII LP.
Once again, Bertelli said he was not considering a sale of the Prada company. “There’s no reason to sell, you sell if the next generation does not want to continue, if they are not interested,” he said.
Instead, Bertelli reiterated that he will pass the baton to his son Lorenzo “in an intelligent manner, in two to three years, when he will feel ready.”
As reported, in November, during Prada’s first Capital Markets Day since 2014, Bertelli addressed the issue of his retirement, saying Lorenzo would be next in line to helm the company.
This was not surprising as Lorenzo has increased his responsibilities and been a driver of change since joining the company in 2017. He was named group marketing director in 2019 and, additionally, head of corporate social responsibility in 2020. In May, he joined as a director of the board.