Eyewear magnate Leonardo Del Vecchio died at age 87; after building an optical empire that saw him buy up major brands like Ray-Ban, Persol, and Oakley. He is Italy's second-richest man and one of the most successful businessmen. He started from scratch, an international company that helped turn eyeglasses into a coveted; and pricey fashion accessory. According to Forbes' 2022 World's Billionaires List, his fortune was worth an estimated $27.3 billion.
His company Essilor Luxottica confirmed Monday that he had“passed away” at age 87. Del Vecchio had been in intensive care at Milan's San Raffaele hospital in recent weeks, according to Italian news agency AGI. Born May 22, 1935, in Milan to a poor family; he spent part of his youth in an orphanage and began working as a teenager.
Details about Ray-Ban's owner
Del Vecchio founded his own company, Luxottica, in 1961. He used to supply the optical industry with components. A decade later, he made the strategic decision to control all parts of the production process. Being that, Luxottica began making its own eyeglasses, distributing them throughout Italy before expanding in Europe through joint ventures.
He spotted the advantage of partnering with fashion design brands, including Giorgio Armani; thereafter, it branched out into retail and snatched up trendy eyewear brands like Ray-Ban, Persol, and Oakley. He signed a first license agreement with Giorgio Armani in the 1980s; as eyewear morphed into a fashion accessory, a trend that continues today.
Luxottica also bought such retailers as LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut, allowing the company to tap the consumer market directly without intermediaries. Moreover, in 2018, Luxottica merged with France's Essilor to become EssilorLuxottica, with Del Vecchio serving as chairman. Also in 2021, the publicly-traded company posted 19.8 billion euros ($20.9 billion USD) in revenue.
“Leonardo Del Vecchio was a great Italian,” wrote the EU's economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni on Twitter, calling his success“an example for today and tomorrow”.
Leonardo Del Vecchio Rayban
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