MILAN — Prada shares on Tuesday closed up 2.89 percent at 40.90 Hong Kong dollars on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange following a press report that LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton senior adviser Andrea Guerra may be joining the Italian luxury group in January.
Prada did not comment on the speculation but a source, who requested anonymity, believes Guerra could be asked to flank Lorenzo Bertelli to prepare him to take on the chief executive officer’s role. This is currently held by both his father Patrizio and his mother Miuccia Prada.
The speculation was first reported by Repubblica.
A Prada board meeting is expected to convene in January, but a source believes Guerra’s appointment in a top managerial role could take place this week and be ratified by the board next year.
Jefferies issued a report stating that “Guerra would add invaluable experience and significant gravitas to the Prada senior management team should his role as de facto ‘caretaker’ be confirmed and that the market would view his arrival as a positive for a group that is initiating a phase of succession.”
A possible retirement of Patrizio Bertelli, who is 76, has been in the news for a while, further fueled by the executive during Prada’s first Capital Markets Day in November 2021, as he pointed to a potential handover in three years.
Patrizio Bertelli’s choice is not a surprise as his son 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 2021, he joined as a director of the board.
Guerra, conscripted in early 2020 as CEO of the newly created LVMH Hospitality Excellence division, said last May that he was leaving the French luxury group “to pursue other interests” and would become a strategic and development senior adviser.
He is a former CEO of eyewear group Luxottica and onetime strategic adviser to former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. He joined LVMH from Italian high-end food emporium Eataly, where he had been executive chairman since 2015.
At LVMH, he took over an entity that encompasses Hôtels Cheval Blanc and the Belmond Hotels & Luxury Trains and also became a member of the luxury conglomerate’s executive committee. Ultimately, his purview was widened to include oversight of the Fendi and Loro Piana businesses, as well as Thélios, the Italian eyewear firm that LVMH took full control of last year.
A graduate of the University of Rome, Guerra started his career in 1989 with hotel group Marriott International. He has also worked in a variety of executive roles at Merloni Elettrodomestici, an Italian maker of household appliances now known as Indesit Co.
The relationship between Patrizio Bertelli and Guerra is a longstanding one, as Luxottica started producing the Prada and Miu Miu eyewear collections in 2003. Also, Luxottica veteran executive Massimo Vian joined Prada as chief of industrial production two years ago.
In March 2017, Guerra spoke at Prada’s first conference on sustainability, called “Shaping a Creative Future.”
Guerra’s possible arrival at Prada comes shortly after the news that Raf Simons, who is co-creative director with Miuccia Prada of the company’s signature line, is shuttering his namesake fashion collection, leading to speculation about an increased commitment at Prada.