Leonardo Del Vecchio, an Italian billionaire businessman who founded and served as chairman of Luxottica, the largest manufacturer, and retailer of eyeglasses and frames in the world with 77,734 employees and more than 8,000 outlets, was born on May 22, 1935, and passed away on June 27, 2022.
His estimated net worth at the time of his passing was US$24.1 billion, making him the second-richest person in Italy and the 54th-richest person overall.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Bio/Wiki
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He was the youngest of four brothers and was born in Milan. Because his father Leonardo, an Apulian fruit merchant, passed away just before his birth, his mother Grazia Rocco decided to give him the same name. The young Leonardo was sent to Martinitt College a few years later, where he stayed until middle school graduation.
He began working as an apprentice at Johnson, a factory that made medals and cups when he was 15 years old. Johnson’s owners encouraged him to enrol in evening classes at the Brera Academy to study design, specifically engraving.
To a poor family from Barletta in Southern Italy, Leonardo Del Vecchio was born on May 22, 1935, in Milan, Italy. He was raised in an orphanage because his mother already had four other children and his father, a street vegetable vendor, had passed away before he was born.
He began his career in Milan as an apprentice to a tool and die manufacturer before deciding to use his metalworking abilities to create components for eyeglasses. He relocated to Agordo in the Belluno region in 1961, which is where the majority of the country’s eyewear business is located. The new business was a limited partnership called Luxottica. He began selling full eyeglass frames under the Luxottica brand in 1967 and went into contract production in 1971.
He acquired the distribution business Scarrone in 1974. The business established its first overseas subsidiary in Germany in 1981.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Education
Also, most of his childhood had been spent in an orphanage. His early education was also finished at Martinitt, his orphanage. After that, he went to Brera Academy to finish his secondary education.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Personal life
Father of six children from his three marriages: Claudio, Marisa, Paola (from his first union to Luciana Nervo), Leonardo Maria (from his third and final wife, Nicoletta Zampillo, whom he wed in 1997 and remarried in 2010 following their divorce in 2000), Luca, and Clemente (born in 2001 and 2004, had by ex-partner Sabina Grossi) The business, Delfin S.à.r.l., with headquarters in Luxembourg and run by Romolo Bardin, is the one in charge of holding all of Leonardo Del Vecchio’s stock and cash.
In his will, Leonardo Del Vecchio specified that his wife, Nicoletta Zampillo, his children, and Rocco Basilico, another son of Campillo, would each receive 12.5% of Delfin, which he owned in his name at the time of his death. Leonardo Del Vecchio, who retained the usufruct until his passing, had direct authority over these stock interests as well.
After a brief stay in the hospital, he passed away on June 27, 2022, in Milan, Italy, at the age of 87. After the public burial, officiated by the bishop of Belluno-Feltre Renato Marangoni, was held in Agordo on June 30, the body was transported to Milan, where it was interred at the grand cemetery in his wife’s Chapel.
He relocated to Pieve Tesino, a small Trentino village, at the age of 22, where he worked at a metal engraving factory. He relocated to Agordo in the Belluno province in 1958 to start a store selling eyeglasses. Three years later, in 1961, the workshop became Luxottica S.a.s., a company with fourteen workers that specialized in the creation of small metal components for eyewear.
He can acquire a sizable garage and shed in Agordo thanks to the municipality’s donation of the property for industrial projects. The company had its first significant strategic breakthrough in 1967 while still being the only owner and continuing to produce semi-finished goods for other companies.
It started by putting the separate elements together to create the full spectacles and market them under the Luxottica name. After barely four years, in 1971, Luxottica ceased production for external clients to focus completely on the creation and promotion of finished glasses.
The business grew strong and stable in 1981 and continued to pursue the US market. To get a loan to buy Avantgarde, a US eyewear company that will allow him to join the US market, he resorted to Credito Italiano under the direction of Lucio Rondelli. After opening four additional plants and recruiting 4,500 workers, he returned the entire amount to the bank one year later along with interest.
Since 1990, Luxottica has been a public company on the New York Stock Exchange. Since 1995, Luxottica has dominated the global optical market as a producer and distributor. He acquired SME (Società Meridionale di Elettricità, formerly IRI company), which had launched the GS and Autogrill Supermarkets franchises in 1993, in 1995 with Benetton.
He remarked: “It was a financial affair, finished five years later with the sale of Carrefour to the French,” in a 2006 interview. Luxottica joined the MIB-30 Index (now S&P/MIB) in September 2003 after being listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since December 2000.
With the Italian brand Vogue in 1990, Persol and US Shoe Corporation (LensCrafters) in 1995, Ray-Ban in 1999, and Sunglass Hut Inc. in 2001, the company was better able to purchase further brands for the manufacture and sale of sunglasses and eyeglasses as a result of the listing. Later, she focused on identifying new retail businesses, acquiring Cole National in 2004, Sydney-based OPSM in 2003, Pearle Vision in 2004, and Surf Eyes in 2006.
In November 2007, Luxottica paid $2.1 billion to acquire California-based Oakley, the top sports eyewear company in the world. Del Vecchio handed down his duties as CEO of Luxottica and a director on the boards of its major companies to Andrea Guerra on July 27, 2004.
With a relatively strong majority position in real estate Beni Stabili, it joined forces with the enormous French Foncière des Régions in February 2007 to form the biggest European real estate business. He was found guilty in 2008 by the tax commission of Belluno of “circumventing Italian tax rules” (based on events that occurred between 1997 and 1998).
Leonardo Del Vecchio Honours
He received the honour of being a knight of labour. He pursued professional training in Milan, earning a diploma in engraving. He started working as the technical head of a company that made medals and decorations when he was twenty years old. Three years later, he started his own company in Milan to make eyewear moulds.
He founded the first Luxottica eyeglasses plant in Agordo (BL) in 1961. From the initial 14 employees, it quickly grew into a multinational holding company with three industrial firms, four facilities, 1120 employees, and 300 workers from satellite units. The product is shipped all over the world by seven trading companies.
With an average daily output of roughly 30 000 frames, which are shipped to foreign countries more than 80%, the total turnover is close to 190 billion. He has served as the National Association of Manufacturers of Eyewear Articles’ president since 1979.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Awards
- In 1995, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice awarded him an honorary degree in business administration.
- In 1999, the MIB School of Management in Trieste presented him with an honorary MBA in International Business.
- He received an honorary degree in management engineering from the University of Udine in 2002 from the then-rector, Furio Honsell.
- He received an honorary degree in materials engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 2006.
- He was granted honorary citizenship in Agordo in 2007.
- He received an honorary Master in Business Administration from the CUOA Foundation in 2012.
- He received the Ambrogio d’oro medal from the Milan Municipality’s Commission of Civic Merits in 2013.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Net Worth
Leonardo Del Vecchio was well-known in Italy thanks to the extensive praise he garnered throughout his lengthy and impressive career. Vecchio was the 54th richest person in the world and the most prosperous businessman in Italy. When he was still alive, he was Italy’s second-richest person. On June 27, 2022, his net worth was $24.1 billion.
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