November 5, 2018 / 7:14 PM / 14 days ago

Luxottica founder to propose Milleri as EssilorLuxottica CEO

MILAN (Reuters) - Leonardo Del Vecchio plans to propose Luxottica (LUX.MI) Chief Executive Francesco Milleri as CEO of the new merged group EssilorLuxottica (ESLX.PA), a spokesman for the Luxottica founder said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO - The Luxottica name is reflected in a pair of sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in Rome February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Illustration/File Photo

“Del Vecchio, who has great confidence in Milleri, wants him to take over as CEO immediately so that he can focus on more strategic issues,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman was confirming comments made earlier by Del Vecchio, EssilorLuxottica’s executive chairman, to Italy’s Ansa news agency.

Essilor completed a merger with Milan-listed Luxottica on October 1 to create a world leader in lenses and eyewear.

Last month the group’s co-CFO Stefano Grassi said a search for a CEO would start in January and headhunters would have until the end of 2020 to come up with a name.

It was not clear if the idea of proposing Milleri for the top spot was a temporary or permanent solution. Del Vecchio is concerned about the here and now, the spokesman said.

No officials at Essilor could immediately be reached for comment.

Del Vecchio and Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnières are sharing power at EssilorLuxottica for the first three years.

The new group, listed in Paris, is looking to buy out all remaining Luxottica shares through an exchange offer ending on Nov. 28, leading to a delisting of the Italian company.

Milleri started off as an IT consultant to Luxottica and grew closer to Del Vecchio over the years, eventually becoming the billionaire founder’s right-hand man.

Del Vecchio took back the reins at Luxottica in 2014 and the group went through three CEO changes in as many years until Milleri was appointed at the end of last year.

Reporting by Valentina Za, additional reporting by Matthias Blamont, writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Adrian Croft

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