Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (LUX) CEO Steps Down Amid Rift with Chairman

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Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX) ‘s CEO Andrea Guerra stepped down from his position yesterday with the Italian eyewear maker, the largest in the world. The departure, which had been speculated for several weeks, came about due to differences in opinion on the future direction of the company between him and Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX) founder, chairman, and principal shareholder Leonardo Del Vecchio.

Luxottica co-CEO Enrico Cavatorta

Guerra will be replaced by two new co-CEO’s, one of which has been confirmed as finance head Enrico Cavatorta (pictured). As CNBC reported today, the co-CEO’s are going to be in a rather precarious position given the sterling performance and yet ultimate fate of Guerra.

“[…] Del Vecchio right, he owns I think 66% of this company. So he’s just got rid of this guy who’s turned shares up 142% over the last five years and he’s got two new CEO’s in, and this is the guy who’s now appointed two new CEO’s, and you’ve got to say, I think from an executive point of view it’s going to be an absolute nightmare being one of those CEO’s,” one analyst said.

Part of that sentiment comes from the fact that Del Vecchio will now take on a much more prominent decision making role, with the executive committee he leads forming a triumvirate of power with the co-CEO’s, which Del Vecchio said would last for ten years just as Guerra’s run as sole leader lasted for ten. During that ten year run by Guerra, Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX)’s stock tripled, making Del Vecchio one of the richest men in the world with a personal fortune estimated at $19.1 billion.

Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX)’s stock has struggled since speculation arose in July about Guerra’s future within the company, and tumbled $2.24, more than 4% on August 20 when it was confirmed by an Italian newspaper that Del Vecchio and Guerra were embroiled in a disagreement, and several other papers reported that he could leave by the end of the year at the expiration of his contract. As it turned out, that was not soon enough.

Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management owns the majority of Luxottica Group SpA (ADR) (NYSE:LUX)’s hedge fund-owned shares, with just under 900,000 shares in the Italian eyewear maker.

Disclosure: none

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