He died at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan Leonardo Del Vecchiothe founder of Luxottica and president of EssilorLuxottica, he was 87 years old. Second richest man in Italy according to the Forbes ranking, he was awarded the Cavaliere del Lavoro in 1986.
“Leonardo Del Vecchio was a great Italian. The story of him, from the orphanage to the leadership of an economic empire, seems like a story of other times. But he is an example for today and tomorrow “. The European Commissioner for the Economy writes it on Twitter, Paolo Gentiloni.
True prince of Italian entrepreneurship, Del Vecchio was not one by birthright. Quite the contrary: in a country where family capitalism is still deeply rooted, Del Vecchio asserts himself with the fabric of the Anglo-Saxon self-made man. The founder of Luxottica was born in Milan on May 22, 1935 from a family of Apulian origin; fatherless still very young, his mother entrusts him to the martinitt college where he remains until he graduates from middle school. At the age of 15 he goes to work as a boy at Johnson, a factory that produces medals and cups. The owners of the factory pushed him to enroll in evening courses at the Brera Academy to study design and engraving.
Del Vecchio leaves the factory where he learned the trade and discovered his passion for ‘creating’ and opens a small shop in Configuration, in the province of Belluno. In just three years the shop becomes Luxotticamanufacturer of semi-finished products for other manufacturers who then assemble the finished glasses, with 14 employees and soon an excellent reputation.
In 1967 Del Vecchio decided to take the plunge and began producing his own line of eyewear with the Luxottica brand: the business grows more and more and expands in the US market. Since 1995 Luxottica has been the largest producer and distributor on the world optical market (cult brands such as i ray ban belong to the group): the listing arrives first in New York then in December 2000 in Milan. Gradually until the merger with the French company Exiles which brings the vertically integrated group to the top of the sector globally.
The stature of Del Vecchio, the richest man in Italy for Forbes, as a capable and ‘enlightened’ entrepreneur is nourished by decisions such as that of giving away 40 thousand shares for his 80 years, with a total value of about 9 million euros, to 8 thousand Italian employees of the group. Already in 2011, for Luxottica’s 50th anniversary, employees were assigned free shares for a total value of 7 million euros.
A separate chapter deserves the hereditary succession closely linked to the private life of the founder of Luxottica who has six children: Claudio (at the head of the Brooks Brothers group), Marisa and Paola, born from the first marriage with Luciana Nervo; Leonardo Maria, with his second wife Nicoletta Zampillo, from whom Del Vecchio separated but then remarried; Luca and Clemente, born from the relationship with Sabina Grossi, former investor relator of the group.
In collaboration with Adnkronos