Luxottica’s billionaire founder dies

Italy's Leonardo Del Vecchio, the chairman of EssilorLuxottica and one of Italy’s wealthiest business figures, has died at the age of 87.  


EssilorLuxottica announced his passing, expressing its “deepest condolences to the family and to the global employee community for this enormous loss”.


Del Vecchio founded Luxottica in 1961, initially to supply components for glasses, and remained the chairman and largest shareholder, with a controlling 32% stake, in the world's biggest eyewear group after it combined forces with Essilor in 2018. Fashion designer and business colleague Giorgio Armani was among those who paid tribute to Del Vecchio. "Together, we invented a phenomenon that did not exist, we immediately realised that glasses, from simple functional objects would become indispensable fashion accessories," he wrote on Twitter.  


Raised in part in an orphanage, Del Vecchio's rags-to-riches story is one of post-war Italy’s most renowned, with an estimated net worth of US25.7billion in June this year, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. "A leading figure in Italian business for more than 60 years, Del Vecchio created one of the country's largest companies from humble beginnings”, Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi told local media, calling the entrepreneur "a great Italian".  


The EssilorLuxottica board has appointed Francesco Milleri, the company's CEO, as chairman for the remaining duration of his term. 




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