MILAN — Geox SpA is kicking off 2020 with a new chief executive officer in place. Livio Libralesso took on the ceo role at the company on Jan. 16. He succeeds Matteo Mascazzini, who is leaving the Italian footwear company after only two years.
Libralesso, a statutory auditor, joined the company in 2001 and has most recently held the roles of chief financial officer and corporate managing director, since 2012 and 2016, respectively. In 2004, in his role of administration and finance director, he coordinated the company’s listing process.
From 1997 and 2001, he worked at the Benetton Group spearheading the process of international rationalization.
Geox president Mario Moretti Polegato underscored Libralesso’s experience and said he has “complete confidence” in the executive, whose appointment “was the best choice to guarantee to the company, and all its stakeholders, that the objective to make Geox a global and profitable player in the world of footwear and apparel will continue to be pursued.”
Following the release of Geox year-end sales, which fell 2.6 percent to 805.9 million euros — a decrease Moretti Polegato attributed to a complex context especially in retail with “a substantial reduction in footfall in physical stores” — the company’s shares were down 2.02 percent to 1.17 euros in afternoon trading on the Milan Stock Exchange on Friday.
Last year, Russia and Eastern Europe helped lift the performance of the group, while e-commerce showed a 29 percent increase year-on-year. In 2020, the company plans to continue rationalizing its network of stores, a process that it started in 2017, with 80 directly operated stores and corners to be shuttered in the next three years. As of December, the number of Geox shops totaled 974, of which 449 were directly operated.
“Geox is preparing to face the new challenges posed by the profound changes in consumers’ buying behavior, with customers now looking for comfort, value-for-money, transparency, value,” said Libralesso, also pointing to sustainability as key.