Backstage at Salvatore Ferragamo RTW Spring 2021

MILAN Major changes are brewing at Ferragamo Finanziaria SpA, which controls the Salvatore Ferragamo SpA company.

The Ferragamos have decided to cut back the number of family members sitting on the board of Salvatore Ferragamo and increase the number of independent directors, giving a mandate to an executive search firm to complete the process.

The board will remain in charge until the end of the 2020 financial year, which closed on Dec. 31, to be approved during the annual general meeting scheduled for April 22. At that time, they will choose a new president of Salvatore Ferragamo, who will not have an executive role. Ferruccio Ferragamo holds the role of chairman.

This choice opens up a number of scenarios. Market sources believe that Michele Norsa, who joined the Salvatore Ferragamo company in May 2020 and whose contract is said to expire at the time of the annual meeting, will exit Salvatore Ferragamo, as will chief executive officer Micaela le Divelec Lemmi.

A more independent board, appointed by professionals, also leads to additional speculation about a possible sale of the company, although the Ferragamos have repeatedly denied a sale was in the cards.

The Ferragamo family had turned to Norsa as a trusted executive for support while the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was spreading in Italy. Norsa was appointed director of the board and executive deputy chairman.

Le Divelec Lemmi is a Gucci veteran, who joined Ferragamo as chief corporate officer in April 2018 and was then named CEO at the end of July that same year.

For Norsa, it had been a return to Salvatore Ferragamo, a company he helped grow over 10 years and publicly listed in his role as CEO.

Norsa joined Ferragamo in 2006 and exited in 2016. His experience with the initial public offering process was one reason he was brought into the company as he played a critical role in Marzotto SpA’s stock market spin-off of its fashion interests into Valentino Fashion Group. Norsa became CEO of Valentino SpA in 2002, when Marzotto bought the fashion house from the now-defunct holding company HdP. He was also general manager of VFG’s licensed brands M Missoni and Marlboro Classics. Earlier, the executive worked at other family-owned companies such as Benetton, Sergio Tacchini and Rizzoli.

A member of the board of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group and the Rocco Forte Hotels, Norsa is a partner of the Italian fund FSI. At the time of his arrival, this led to speculation that he would help channel an investment by the fund into Ferragamo. Norsa has also held the role of vice chairman of Missoni, under the FSI umbrella.

Ferruccio Ferragamo’s son James Ferragamo last year resigned from the board, allowing Norsa to be recruited and assume the executive powers previously exercised by Ferruccio Ferragamo.

James Ferragamo continued in his role as brand and product and communication director. 

Norsa had also taken over the chairmanship of the executive committee and the brand and product strategic committee.

In October, chief marketing officer Riccardo Vannetti also exited the company.

On Wednesday, Ferragamo said Claudio Costamagna has become a member of the board. Costamagna was previously a board member of Luxottica and Bulgari. Costamagna, a banker and businessman, and former chairman of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, controlled by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, has a successful track record in merger and acquisition operations.