Luxottica chief says return to helm only temporary

The Italy-based eyewear company has rebuilt its top managent team after parting ways with two chief executive officers in as many months. It said on 24 October that a veteran manager from Procter & Gamble will become a co-chief executive of the company in January.
Rifts with Mr Del Vecchio are said to be behind the abrupt exit on 1 Septber of 10-years-long CEO Mr Andrea Guerra and his successor Mr Enrico Cavatorta, who stepped down on 13 October, after just six weeks in the job.
Since Mr Guerra’s exit, Mr Del Vecchio has returned to play a more prominent role at the group after a decade out of the limelight.
“My return at the company is tporary and solely aimed at easing changes taking place,” Mr Del Vecchio, who owns 61 per cent of Luxottica, wrote in a letter to ployees.
Luxottica switched in Septber to a dual CEO model, drawing criticism from some analysts who say it hampers decision-making.
“Once the new governance structure is consolidated, I will again hand over to managers the task of leading Luxottica’s future,” Mr Del Vecchio said.
When he hired Guerra back in 2004, his choice was seen as a rare example of an Italian entrepreneur who was ceding control of a family business to an outsider.
But the exits of two well respected managers in just over a month have raised investor concerns about Luxottica’s governance and future.”The vacuum has brought back 79-year-old Del Vecchio and some of his associates centre-stage. That is unfortunate, inappropriate and a risk,” Exane BNP Paribas wrote in a note on 24 October, upgrading the stock to “neutral” after the recent share price fall and th rise again.
In January, Procter & Gamble’s Mr Adil Mehboob-Khan is set to join Luxottica’s current chief operating officer, Mr Massimo Vian, who was appointed as the other co-CEO when the board met to approve third-quarter results.
“Let’s look at the future. Adil Khan … has accepted with enthusiasm to join our team and will be perfectly complentary to Massimo Vian,” Mr Del Vecchio said.
The chairman, meanwhile, said he would keep his family out of his business. He has six children from three relationships and is currently rarried to his second wife whom he had previously divorced.
“I would like to reassure you that through these changes there hasn’t been and there never will be any influence from my family, numerous and complex, which for this reason I love intensely and equally in its entirety,” Del Vecchio said.
The ownership of the holding company through which Del Vecchio controls Luxottica is being revised following his latest marriage, sources close to the matter have said.

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