MILAN — London-based fund Njord Partners acquired 80 percent of Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti last month and now the storied textile firm has a new chief executive officer: Paolo Torello-Viera. The Cerruti family retains a 20 percent stake in the firm, and Nino Cerruti, who previously held the ceo role, has taken on the title of president.
“To be able to work with Nino Cerruti, who has made the history of Italian fashion, such an enlightened and great entrepreneur, is an honor, I feel so lucky,” Torello-Viera told WWD. “To talk to him is to take a lesson in fashion, culture and Made in Italy tradition.”
Torello-Viera exited early last year from Pal Zileri, which he joined in 2015 as ceo for the Americas. Before that, the Italian executive was ceo of North America at BVM USA, which controls the Les Copains brand. His other experience includes chief operating officer at Samuelsohn; co-executive vice president of retail at Brioni, and 15 years at the Ermenegildo Zegna Group.
Torello-Viera, who hails from the Biella, Italy, area where Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti is based, said this was a “return to my origins, since I was born and grew up here.” He also had another personal relationship with Cerruti himself, who built his knowledge of wool with Torello-Viera’s grandfather, Giovanni. “It’s so beautiful for me to be here, it’s almost surreal.”
In his new role, Torello-Viera said he planned to leverage such knowledge, all that Cerruti “did over the years, he was a pioneer and a visionary.” He is also banking on “brand awareness,” while improving the organization and the industrialization of the company, “adapting to the times” to meet the needs of the market and of clients, with top service and Made in Italy production, which is “unbeatable.” The potential also lies in “commercial expansion, investments in the territory, Made in Biella and strategic alliances. I want to bring the company Cerruti back to the splendor of the Seventies and Eighties.”