MILAN — Gianluigi Facchini has resigned as the chief executive officer of Fin.part, officially ending his reign at the multibrand group he built.
Last year Facchini stepped down as the company’s chairman, but retained his ceo status. His ceding of the chairman’s title coincided with a financial crisis at debt-laden Fin.part, which owns labels such as Cerruti and Frette, as well as the sportswear business Pepper Industries.
Fin.part said in a statement Tuesday that Facchini resigned at the end of a board meeting last Friday. The company also said the board has drawn up a plan to dip into reserves and cover 181.24 million euros, or $216.4 million at current exchange rates, of losses in fiscal 2003 and the first quarter of 2004. The plan is subject to a shareholders’ vote May 12.
At that time, shareholders will also get a chance to vote on a board proposal to switch auditors to Mazars & Guerard. Fin.part said its contract with KPMG is expiring. Last month, KPMG failed to certify Fin.part’s accounts for a third time.
Gianni Mazzola, head of the Italian beauty company Schiapparelli and the current chairman of Fin.part, will assume the role of interim ceo, Fin.part said. Late last year, Mazzola and his Swiss banker, Carlo Pagani, bought up a large portion of Facchini’s stake in Fin.part. Together, Mazzola and Pagani are Fin.part’s largest shareholders, currently holding 23.7 percent of the company.
A Fin.part spokesman said he could not comment on local press reports that Facchini would sell his remaining 5.68 percent stake in Fin.part to Mazzola.
Facchini, who wanted to create a multibrand group akin to Gucci or LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was one of Europe’s top-earning executives. In 2002, he commanded a salary of 2.32 million euros, or $2.77 million, plus a bonus of 200,000 euros, or $238,840. That year he even managed to get a bigger paycheck than former Gucci president and ceo Domenico De Sole.
Mazzola is not giving interviews, so it is unclear whether he’s planning to sell off assets piecemeal or restructure the company as a whole. Fin.part said late Monday that its board will meet some time before May 12 to approve a strategic operating plan.
Giuseppe Augurusa, a representative of textile union Filtea, said that Fin.part presented unions with a plan to lay off about 100 employees at Cerruti, as part of a strategic shift toward licensing agreements for the brand. The unions oppose the job cuts and they also question whether Fin.part has the funds needed for so many exit packages.
“You need quite a bit of money to get rid of 100 workers,” he said.
Fin.part also needs to come up with cash to pay back 200 million euros, or $238.8 million, worth of Cerruti bonds due this July.