PARIS — In a bid to move forward with their 46-billion-euro merger, feuding factions at EssilorLuxottica struck an agreement meant to resolve ongoing governance issues plaguing the project, the eyewear giant said Monday.
“The agreement settles any existing dispute among the parties,” the company said in a statement, adding that the board of directors had unanimously approved the plan for executive chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio and vice chairman Hubert Sagnières to hand integration responsibilities to Francesco Milleri, in charge of Luxottica group, and Laurent Vacherot, who heads Essilor International and becomes director of EssilorLuxottica.
The company’s board continues its search for a new group chief executive officer; Milleri and Vacherot have told the board they are not candidates, according to the statement.
EssilorLuxottica was formed by the combination of France-based Essilor, a lensmaker that operates LensCrafters and Target Optical, and Italy’s Luxottica, which produces eyewear under license for brands including Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel and Giorgio Armani. But the merger has been plagued by a public dispute between top managers of the French and Italian factions of the company.
In April, a Paris court appointed Frank Gentin as a mediator to break an impasse on the 16-member board of directors, which was evenly split into former Essilor and Luxottica camps.
The new agreement, which comes ahead of annual general shareholder meeting on May 16, puts an end to legal proceedings, including request for arbitration filed by Delfin, the family holding of Del Vecchio, Luxottica’s founder, with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.