MILAN — Luxottica Group SpA may be facing a second top executive exit in a little more than a month. The buzz here is that Enrico Cavatorta, the newly appointed chief executive officer of corporate functions and interim ceo of markets, is planning to leave the giant Italian eyewear manufacturer next week, even as early as Monday.
A prelude to his departure could be seen in his sale of 550,000 Luxottica shares to Delfin S.a.r.l., the holding controlled by Luxottica chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio, for more than 22.3 million euros, or $28.2 million at current exchange. Sources say Cavatorta’s decision may be triggered by disagreements with Del Vecchio and his wife, Nicoletta Zampillo, who is vying for more power on the company’s board and who has been lobbying for outside consultant Francesco Milleri, a longtime friend of the family. Cavatorta and Milleri are said to have clashed on a number of issues. Looming behind these executive changes is the future of the company’s shareholding structure. Del Vecchio, the founder of Luxottica, is almost 80 and controls around 61 percent of the company, and has six children from three different women, including Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and ceo of Brooks Brothers.
Last month, Luxottica shook up its management structure based on a co-CEO model, with Del Vecchio returning to take on a more active role. Ceo Andrea Guerra left the company after 10 years, and was to be succeeded by two executives, one focused on the markets and the other dedicated to corporate functions.
Cavatorta, previously general manager and chief financial officer of the firm, was appointed ceo of corporate functions and interim ceo of markets, pending the appointment of a permanent executive to that position. Operations, led by Massimo Vian, temporarily report to Del Vecchio.
Cavatorta was born in Treviso, Italy, in 1961, and, prior to joining Luxottica in 1991, was group controller at motorcycle firm Piaggio SpA. Before that, he was a consultant with McKinsey & Co., having joined the firm from Procter & Gamble Italy.
The eyewear maker produces under license for names, including the Giorgio Armani Group, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada and Versace, and also has a number of owned brands, such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol.