EssilorLuxottica has announced the death of chairman Mr Leonardo Del Vecchio, who was raised in an orphanage and went on to become Italy’s second-richest man, at the age of 87.
In an announcement on Twitter, Essilor Group said it was “with a heavy heart” that the company announced his passing.
“Today, the world has lost a visionary: an entrepreneurial genius, a good friend to many, and an all-round incredible man,” the company said.
Born in 1935, Del Vecchio founded Luxottica at the age of 26, during Italy’s economic boom of the 1960s, in a small mountain town in the Veneto region.
Luxottica went on to merge with French lens manufacturer, Essilor, in 2017 in a €50 billion (AU$76 b) deal.
In the same year, he established the Leonardo Del Vecchio Foundation to support charitable and non-profit initiative.
EssilorLuxottica, which owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands and makes frames for luxury houses like Armani and Prada, is also the world’s biggest producer of corrective lenses.
In a June 27 press release, EssilorLuxottica said it expresses its deepest condolences to the family and to the global employee community for this enormous loss.
The company board met on 28 June and paid homage to Del Vecchio, who it said passed away peacefully.
During the meeting, the board appointed Mr Francesco Milleri as its new chairman for the remaining duration of his mandate. Milleri will also carry on assuming his term as CEO of EssilorLuxottica.
Del Vecchio was still actively involved in the industry, recently meeting Facebook founder Mr Mark Zuckerberg in Milan where he was shown a prototype of Zuckerberg’s neural interface wristband that will eventually let wearers control their glasses and other devices.