MILAN — Claudio Sposito, chairman and chief executive officer of Milan-based private equity firm Clessidra SGR SpA, has died at age 60, after a brief but aggressive illness.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday morning in Milan.

Sposito founded Clessidra in 2003, building it into one of the most active firms here in the luxury and fashion arena.

Clessidra and Roberto Cavalli had been discussing a sale of the designer’s namesake company as far back as 2009, but the deal eventually materialized last April, with the fund taking control of 90 percent of the fashion company.

Clessidra also bought a 70 percent stake in Milanese jewelry firm Buccellati from various members of the Buccellati family in 2013 and, the following year, inked an agreement to take a 35 percent stake in Harmont & Blaine SpA through a capital increase, with the goal of supporting the Italian fashion brand’s international growth.

After a decade at Morgan Stanley, where he helped publicly list former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, Sposito held the post of ceo at Fininvest, also controlled by the Berlusconi family, from 1998 to 2003.

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