MILAN (Reuters) - Luxottica (LUX.MI), the world’s biggest eyewear maker, denied press reports on Thursday that two senior managers were to resign following the departure of the Italian company’s second chief executive in as many months.
A report in Corriere della Sera newspaper said Luxottica’s chief marketing officer Fabio D‘Angelantonio and Antonio Miyakawa, who is senior adviser strategic partnerships for licensing and style, planned to resign.
“We deny that Fabio D‘Angelantonio and Antonio Miyakawa plan to leave. They are people who play a key role within the group and have a long-term commitment to Luxottica,” a company spokeswoman said.
The management upheaval at the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses has followed a move by 79-year old Chairman and biggest shareholder Leonardo Del Vecchio to take on a more prominent role in running the company.
Enrico Cavatorta, who took over as CEO on Sept. 1 following the abrupt exit of long-time boss Andrea Guerra, resigned on Monday after clashing, like his predecessor, with Del Vecchio.
The Italian entrepreneur had stayed out of day-to-day operations at the group he founded in 1961 during Guerra’s successful 10-year tenure.
The sudden exit of two well-respected CEOs in the span of six weeks has raised questions over governance and strategy at Luxottica. Its stock has fallen some 14 percent this week, including a 1 percent drop by 1108 GMT (0708 EDT) on Thursday in a sharply weaker Milan market. Italian blue-chips .FTMIB were down 3 percent.
Corriere della Sera said D‘Angelantonio and Miyakawa were among around 10 people at Luxottica who were either planning to leave or having their contract changed.
D‘Angelantonio is also chairman of retail chain Sunglass Hut, which contributes around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to Luxottica’s annual revenues of more than seven times that figure. Miyakawa handles relationships with licensing brands, which range from Chanel and Armani to Michael Kors.
When Guerra left Luxottica in September analysts had said there was little risk that other managers from the strong team he created would follow suit.
But the deepening rifts at the top that led to the resignation of Cavatorta, widely seen as a competent and loyal executive who had been chief financial officer since 1999, may prompt others to leave.
“With Mr Cavatorta having departed, other top-line managers may follow - spelling a potential vacuum between Mr Del Vecchio and operations,” Citi analysts said in a note.
Del Vecchio, who controls Luxottica via a 61 percent stake, has taken over management of the group for the time being.
Luxottica is looking for a new chief executive who would join chief operations officer Massimo Vian in a dual CEO structure introduced after Guerra’s exit.
Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Susan Thomas and Jane Merriman