Report: Prada Looks to Former Luxottica CEO Guerra to Ease Succession

Italian fashion group Prada is set to hire former Luxottica chief Andrea Guerra to a senior role to ease the transition to lead the next generation of the founding family, a source familiar with the matter has said. .

Founded in Milan in 1913 by designer Miuccia Prada’s grandfather and brother as a leather goods store, Hong Kong-listed Prada has grown into a group with 365 directly-operated stores by the end of 2021 and annual revenues €3.7 billion ($3.8 billion), 40% of which comes from the Asia-Pacific region.

After overseeing a successful turnaround since 2017 to reverse a slump in sales, Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli, 76, said a year ago he planned to hand over the reins of the group he leads with his wife Miuccia to their 34-year-old son, Lorenzo.

Lorenzo, who is Prada’s chief marketing officer, had joined the company’s board in May 2021 before his father told investors in November that he could take over as CEO in “three to four years. “.

Faced with a family succession, like many other Italian business dynasties, Prada planned ahead and sought out a senior manager to work alongside Lorenzo while gaining experience in the field, another person familiar with the matter said. case.

Widely recognized as a quick learner, Lorenzo joined the family business in 2017 as Head of Digital Communications.

Prada is finalizing a deal with Guerra to hire the 57-year-old manager, who earlier this year resigned as head of luxury giant LVMH’s hospitality division, the first source said.

Prada and Guerra declined to comment on the news.

As CEO of Luxottica from 2004 to 2014, Guerra oversaw the doubling of sales at the eyewear maker, which since 2003 has produced and distributed eyewear under the Prada and Miu Miu brands of the Prada Group.

Massimo Vian, a veteran Luxottica executive hired by Guerra in 2005 and later the eyewear company’s chief operating officer, joined Prada in 2020 as chief operating officer.

“We believe Guerra would add invaluable experience and significant gravity to Prada’s leadership team,” Jefferies said, adding that the market would welcome progress on succession deals.

On the creative side, Prada called on Belgian designer Raf Simons in 2020 to share the role of director with Miuccia. Simons announced last week that he would be shutting down his eponymous brand, in a move seen as a prelude to fully taking over Miuccia.

Eleven years after its Hong Kong market debut, Prada is also exploring a possible Milan listing to broaden the investor base, two other sources briefed on the matter said. The move would not bring in any money or affect the family’s 80% stake, as Prada would not sell any new or existing shares.

Italian daily La Repubblica reported for the first time that Prada could announce Guerra’s arrival as early as January.

By Claudia Cristoferi, Valentina Za

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