Perspectives from ISB

Luxottica Group, with annual revenues of $8.2 billion and more than 7,000 retail outlets, is the world’s largest eyewear company. It is a vertically integrated designer, manufacturer, distributor and retailer of eyewear. Its best known brands are Ray-Ban, Persol, and Oakley. Luxottica also makes sunglasses and prescription frames for a multitude of designer brands such as Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana to name a few. The company also makes Google Glasses.

The firm was started in 1961 by Leonardo Del Vecchio in Italy. Following the rapid increase in size over the last fifty years, the company gained a reputation as one of the rare family-owned European companies that had successfully handed management to independent outsiders. However, on 1st September 2014, the firm adopted a controversial new organizational structure, composed of two co-CEOs, one focusing on market development and the other overseeing corporate functions.

Shortly thereafter the company lost two CEOs in quick succession, first the long-standing CEO Andrea Guerra, followed by his short-lived successor, Enrico Cavatorta. In October 2014, the world’s biggest eyewear maker announced that veteran P&G manager Adil Mehboob-Khan would be chief executive along with longtime Luxottica manager Massimo Vian. Recently Mehboob-Khan also put in his papers and Luxottica lost its third chief executive in 18 months. Now the eighty years old founder, who also acts as Luxottica’s chairman, will once again take on executive powers.