Keeping it in the family
Patriarchs are reluctant to cede control of the companies they built
RAISED in an orphanage, Leonardo Del Vecchio started selling spectacles in Belluno in northernItalyin 1967. Today his company, Luxottica, owns Ray-Ban and Oakley, the two biggest brands of sunglasses, and has annual sales of 7.3 billion Aged 79, Mr Del Vecchio isItaly's second-richest man. He stepped back from management a decade ago. But on September 1st he abruptly stepped back in. Andrea Guerra, Luxottica's boss, has left. Mr Del Vecchio will head the triumvirate that will replace him.
This is an unusual solution to a problem that faces many Italian firms: ageing patriarchs who are reluctant to bow out or even to plan for the day when they eventually must. Until Mr Del Vecchio's comeback, there had seemed to be somewhat of a trend for founders and their heirs to hand management to professionals. In 2006 Salvatore Ferragamo, an upmarket shoemaker, hired Michele Norsa to succeed Feruccio Ferragamo, the founder's son. Sergio Marchionne, the boss of Fiat Chrysler, does not belong to the carmaker's founding family, the Agnellis. Mr Del Vecchio had won praise for picking Mr Guerra over his relatives to run Luxottica.
许多意大利企业都面临的一个问题：年迈的创始人不愿退休，甚至不愿为这终将到来的退休之日做个计划。而这是一个非比寻常的解决方式。创始人或他们的继承者把管理权交给专业经理人似乎成了一种趋势，直到德尔.维奇奥先重装上阵。2006年，高端制鞋公司Salvatore Ferragamo雇佣了Michele Norsa使得创始人之子Feruccio Ferragamo一举成功。Fiat Chrysler的老板Sergio Marchionne不是汽车制造企业创始人家族—Agnellis家族的一员。德尔.维奇奥因在其家族中选择Guerra先生来运营Luxottica公司而赢得赞誉。
Smooth handovers are hard to arrange, especially at fashion houses, which struggle to break free from the geniuses who created them. Giorgio Armani, now 80 (pictured, left), has no known succession plan for the company that bears his name. Roberto Cavalli, a designer of slightly younger vintage, has so far failed to find someone to take over. The brand's two most senior non-family managers left in January. A deal to sell his firm to Permira, a private-equity investor, fell apart. Now he is trying to sell a majority stake to VTB, a Russian state-controlled bank, despite VTB being among the firms subject to Western sanctions overRussia's involvement inUkraine.
顺利的交接很难安排，特别是在时装公司，他们奋力要冲破创始人的光环。如今80岁的Giorgio Armani，以其名字命名的公司没有已知的继任计划。偏年轻复古风格的设计师Roberto Cavalli到如今也没能找到继任者。该品牌最资深的两个非家族管理者在1月就离开了。将公司出售给一家私募股权投资公司Permira的计划最终也流产了。如今他正试图将其公司大部分的股权卖给一家俄罗斯国家控股银行—俄罗斯外贸银行，尽管俄罗斯外贸银行因俄罗斯插手乌克兰变局正受到西方制裁。
Mr Guerra had to go, said Mr Del Vecchio, because his views on the firm's strategy had “diverged” from his own. Mr Guerra had expanded Luxottica globally and doubled its profits, though its retail chains, Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, had not done as well as expected.
说Guerra先生不得不离开，因为他对于公司战略的看法已经与他自己向背离德尔.维奇奥。Guerra先生将Luxottica扩张到全球各地并使其利润翻倍，尽管其零售产业链Sunglass Hut 和LensCrafters 并未达到预期效果。
Mr Del Vecchio says he has no plans to hand the management of the firm to his children. If his motives in shaking up Luxottica's management are indeed primarily financial, minority shareholders will cheer. If they are familial, they will be sceptical, even though some Italian firms are thriving under second- and third-generation bosses. Ermenegildo Zegna, an upmarket tailor, is well-run by the founder's grandson. Michele Ferrero, a confectioner who isItaly's richest man, has handed to his son the job of selling Nutella and Tic Tacs.
德尔.维奇奥表示他没有计划将公司的管理权交个他的孩子。如果他重组公司管理层的动机真的主要是金融方面的，一小部分股东将为之欢呼雀跃。如果他们是家族成员，他们就会有疑虑，尽管一些意大利企业在第二代、第三代老板的管理下正蓬勃发展。高级制衣公司Ermenegildo Zegna在其创始人孙子的管理下运营良好。糖果制造商Michele Ferrero—意大利最富有的的人，让其儿子接管了Nutella和Tic Tacs的销售工作。
Perhaps Mr Del Vecchio could take inspiration from Hermes, a French luxury-goods house that has gone from family to professional management and back without visible strain. Its pedigreed boss, Axel Dumas, took over in February after eight years of management by an outsider. On September 3rd he settled a row with LVMH, a rival that had built a large stake in his company. LVMH now says it will distribute those shares to its shareholders, ending the threat of a hostile bid. Mr Dumas had feared for Hermes's independence, and perhaps for his job. He now looks secure. Mr Del Vecchio must be hoping for an equally sunny outcome.