Multi-millionaire Owner of Ban Leonardo Del Vecchio passes away
One of Italy’s richest businessmen and chairman of eyewear manufacturer EssilorLuxottica (ESLOF), Leonardo Del Vecchio, passed away on Monday at the age of 87, according to his company.
The company released a statement saying, “EssilorLuxottica regrettably announces today that its chairman has passed away,” and that the board would convene to “consider the next steps.”
In one of the most well-known rags-to-riches tales of Italy’s post-war economic recovery, Del Vecchio went from spending his early years in an orphanage to amassing a wealth worth tens of billions of euros.
“Among the best Italians was Leonardo Del Vecchio. His journey from an orphanage to the head of a commercial empire reads like a legend from a different era. However, it serves as a lesson for today and tomorrow. RIP,” Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the European Economy.
The Italian entrepreneur created Luxottica in 1961 and grew it into a firm that owned the Ray-Ban trademark before joining hands with Essilor of France in a significant merger in 2018.
He served as EssilorLuxottica’s executive chairman until December 2020, at which point he turned over day-to-day management of the business to Chief Executive Francesco Milleri. At the time the Franco-Italian eyeglasses powerhouse was combined, he had personally backed Milleri as its leader.
Del Vecchio’s power went beyond his own company, and according to Forbes, at the end of 2021, he was Italy’s second richest man, trailing Giovanni Ferrero of the Nutella-producing group.
His Delfin holding company owns the largest investment in the Italian financial services company Mediobanca and slightly under 10% of the largest financial services company in Italy.
Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala wrote on Twitter, “With the passing of Del Vecchio, Milan loses one of the most emblematic figures of its recent history.”
Following the disclosures, shares of Mediobanca fell by more than 4%, those of Generali by about 2.5%, and those of EssilorLuxottica, in which Delfin owns a controlling 32% stake, remained flat at just less than 148 euros per share.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.