Andrea Guerra, conscripted in early 2020 as chief executive officer of the newly created LVMH Hospitality Excellence division, is leaving the French luxury group “to pursue other interests.”
An internal announcement at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, seen by WWD, noted that Guerra will remain in his role until the end of May, and he will then become a strategic and development senior adviser.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Group, thanked Guerra for his “leadership contribution” and noted he “played an instrumental role in raising the ambition of the recently acquired Belmond toward excellence, and ensuring Thélios to become a successful global player in eyewear. He also steered Fendi and Loro Piana with a steady hand and strong results in a period of great uncertainty.
“I am glad he will continue to work with me and the group as an adviser,” Arnault added.
According to market sources, among potential successors for Guerra is Stéphane Rinderknech, who last February exited as CEO of L’Oréal in the U.S. Rinderknech had a 20-year career at the French beauty giant and was seen as a rising star in the industry. Speculation has been rife on both sides of the Atlantic that he will join LVMH in some capacity.
The LVMH internal memo said Guerra’s successor “will be appointed promptly.”
Guerra, a former CEO of eyewear group Luxottica and onetime strategic adviser to former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, 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.
LVMH’s surprise $2.6 billion acquisition of Belmond in 2018 was aimed at bulking up the group’s hospitality operations globally and position it as much of a leading player in experiential luxury as it is in fashion, leather goods and prestige wines and spirits. Belmond operates in 24 countries with a portfolio of 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties.
However, sources suggested Guerra ultimately was “not a good fit” for the diverse role.
For his part, Guerra said in the LVMH memo that he was “inspired by the group’s culture to succeed through the light of excellence. The maisons I led faced different challenges, and I put my energy and determination to drive them forward. It has been an intense couple of years. I now wish to pursue new entrepreneurial projects.”
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.