MILAN, Sept 2 Leonardo Del Vecchio, the
79-year-old founder of Italian eyewear maker Luxottica, decided
to replace long-term CEO Andrea Guerra after Guerra rejected his
plans to take a more active role in the firm to prepare for a
handover to his offspring.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore
published on Tuesday, Del Vecchio said Guerra, who left on
Monday after a 10-year tenure, had opposed a radical overhaul of
the management structure aimed at better preparing the company
for the future.
"I took the decision more or less around the end of 2013 and
the beginning of this year, when he (Guerra) rejected my plan to
take back a more active role in the running of the company," Del
Vecchio was quoted as saying.
Del Vecchio, who founded Luxottica in 1961 and owns
61 percent of the world's biggest eyewear maker by revenue, said
the complex new management structure - which will see the CEO
functions split among three managers - was something he drew up
as a way to ensure a smooth transition to his offspring.
"When approaching 80, one must thing about one's children:
you can put in writing that succession plans had a determining
role in the decision," Del Vecchio said.
Luxottica, maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, named 53-year-old
Enrico Cavatorta, current chief financial officer and general
manager, as co-chief executive. It is recruiting externally for
another co-CEO whom Cavatorta told a press conference on Monday
could be in place by the end of the year.
The co-CEOs will be part of an executive committee that will
be led by the chairman and include, at least initially, a senior
executive in charge mainly of production.
In the interview, Del Vecchio dismissed suggestions that he
and Guerra had clashed over strategy, including a decision
earlier this year to agree to develop and manufacture Google's
high-tech Glass spectacles.
When rumours about Guerra's departure initially surfaced two
weeks ago, the company said the two had been debating strategy
for some time.
Del Vecchio added Guerra could do well at a global luxury
goods company such as privately-owned Armani.
Guerra, one of Italy's most-respected managers who is taking
home 45 million euros ($59 million) worth of severance pay and
stock options, has so far kept mum on his plans for the future.
Italian media have speculated that Guerra, who is close to
Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party, may join the
political arena. His name had been in the rounds as a possible
minister candidate when Renzi formed his government in February.
"He certainly does not have the qualities of a politician,"
Del Vecchio said in a separate interview with Corriere della
Sera also on Tuesday.
Luxottica shares were down 1.86 percent by 0703 GMT.
(1 US dollar = 0.7618 euro)
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Mark Potter)