Giorgio Armani looking at creating foundation

Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:00pm EST
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By Isla Binnie

MILAN (Reuters) - Giorgio Armani is studying the possibility of creating a foundation to protect the future of his fashion empire, the Italian designer and businessman said on Monday.

"I am paying a lot of attention to the possibility ... I don't want to leave problems for the people who come after me," Armani, who turns 80 this year, said after showing an autumn-winter menswear collection in Milan.

The question of who will succeed the creative director and chief executive of one of the world's most recognizable fashion brands, which had revenue over 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) in 2012, has occupied industry observers for a decade.

Armani has hinted over the years that he could list or sell the group, and said after recovering from a bout of hepatitis in 2009 that he had started organizing staff to continue his work.

The hands-on designer from northern Italy could set up a foundation similar to the Hans Wilsdorf foundation behind watch brand Rolex, an investment banker said.

Armani, who starred in one of his own advertising campaigns last year, said he needed more information before making a decisions.

"I don't have as much time at my disposal as I would like for such important things," he said. "I want to have much more information."

Armani suggested he had no current plans to list the company publicly, after shareholders in jacket maker Moncler raised more than 780 million euros in an initial public offering in December, but found the prospect interesting.   Continued...

Italian designer Giorgio Armani reacts at the end of his Haute Couture Fall Winter 2013/2014 fashion show for Giorgio Armani Prive in Paris July 2, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau