Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of eyewear manufacturer Luxottica, has died at the age of 87. The Italian businessman was still active within EssilorLuxottica, most recently as chairman of the board of directors. He was CEO of the billion-dollar company until 2020.
Second richest Italian
Eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica is “extremely sad” to announce the death of its chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio. In 1961, Del Vecchio, who grew up as a poor orphan in Milan, founded eyewear manufacturer Luxottica. The big breakthrough however came in the 1990s, when Luxottica went public in New York and started making eyewear for brands such as Chanel, Prada and Versace. The company also grew strongly through takeovers, such as that of the Ray-Ban brand.
The Italian entrepreneur nevertheless always remained at the head of ‘his’ company, even after the merger with French industry rival Essilor in 2018. It was only in December 2020 that he stepped aside and Del Vecchio became chairman of the board. “The company expresses its deepest condolences to the family and to the global employee community for this enormous loss. The board will meet to determine the next steps,” a press release reads.
In 1986, the President of Italy conferred the honorary title of “Cavaliere del Lavoro” on Del Vecchio. The businessman died as the second richest Italian, preceded only by Nutella founder Giovanni Ferrero. His wealth is estimated to be between 25 and 27 billion euros.