Paris—As if it weren’t already clear, Kering today appointed its CEO of eyewear Roberto Vedovotto as His appointment to Kering’s executive committee.
The appointment illustrates just how seriously Kering is looking to eyewear to help grow its luxurygoods business, one that includes Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent etc.
“Roberto Vedovotto’s appointment to our executive committee is a step further in the development of a more integrated and specialized Group, whose main objective is to support the brands so that they fulfill their growth potential. Roberto’s expertise in the eyewear industry and his knowledge of the fashion and luxury world will provide a valuable contribution to our executive committee, for the Group and our brands,” added François-Henri Pinault, chairman/ceo of Kering.
Last fall, Kering completed a partnership agreement with Safilo “covering the product development, manufacturing and supply of Gucci eyewear products.” Under the agreement, come fourth quarter this year, the transition to build its in-house eyewear platform for its Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands
Currently managed by Safilo, licenses for Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and McQ brands will be brought in-house to Kerings’ new eyewear division, Kering Eyewear SpA.
Kering will pay Safilo three equal payments amounting to 90 million euros in compensation. One payment has been made; the second installment will be paid in December 2016 and the third in September 2018.
An Italian national, Roberto Vedovotto, 49, joined the Kering Group in 2013 after many years as CEO of Safilo Group. Prior to this, Roberto held senior management positions in the banking where he worked for 15 years, first at Morgan Stanley, then Lehman Brothers / Nomura. He holds a degree in business administration from Bocconi University and a master’s degree in finance from London Business School.
The eyewear division is part of a restructure that Kering has been undergoing the last six years, such as, shedding its former retail assets while also buying a number of luxury brands, including Brioni and Pomellato. Pinault said earlier this week that the shopping spree for brands is over, but he admitted that one underperforming brand–footwear label Sergio Rossi–is undergoing a “strategic review” and could possibly be sold.
Meanwhile, Puma’s slump in sales has prompted analysts to wonder if the brand was for sale, but Pinault on Tuesday said Kering isn’t selling its stake in the company.