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Leonardo Ferragamo: Angels Need to Wear His Red Shoes

In Italy, the household is every- thing. Many of the nation’s biggest firms are nonetheless owned and run by dynasties, and the distinction between the boardroom table and the kitchen table is usually blurred. So when Leonardo Ferragamo, son of the late Salvatore Ferragamo who based the eponymous luxurious goods empire, says “the family is the brand”, you recognize he means it.

Not like “Brand Beckham”, assiduously cultivated by the footballer David and his celebrity wife, Victoria, this is no Johnny-come-lately advertising wheeze. Salvatore Ferragamo started one of many world’s grandest luxurious items companies when he opened his first shoe store in Florence in 1927. One in all his most celebrated pairs of footwear had been the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland within the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. He was additionally accountable for the metal-reinforced stiletto heels made famous by Marilyn Monroe.

By the 1950s, Salvatore Ferragamo was the shoe of alternative for stars similar to Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Greta Garbo. Throughout, he insisted that all the corporate’s merchandise ought to solely be made in Italy to ensure quality was not compromised.

Leonardo, who has worked in the company all his life, says of his father: “He was a genius, ferragamo belt scam a particular particular person. But I by no means obtained to know him nicely as I was seven when he died.”

When Salvatore passed away aged 62 in 1960, his wife, Wanda, took over the working of the enterprise. With the help of her six youngsters, it has since expanded into a worldwide concern, additionally promoting luxurious equipment similar to designer glasses, perfume, belts and scarves. Manufacturing has grown from 6,500 pairs of sneakers a 12 months when Salvatore died to around 10,000 a day now. In 2005 the corporate made a profit of almost $50m (£25m) on gross sales of $718m. Asia now represents half its revenues.

Leonardo learnt the art of shoemaking in the household business and went on to head the menswear division in addition to spearheading the drive into Asia. He can be answerable for the family’s property investments and is the chairman of the yachting group Nautor, extra of which later.

However Salvatore Ferragamo is ready to vary. Final year, for the first time in its 80-12 months historical past, someone from outside the household was introduced in to run the enterprise. Michele Norsa, formerly the chief govt of the rival Italian group Valentino, changed Wanda, now aged 85, who has become chairman as she cuts down her workload and prepares to move on the reins.

And in September, the corporate announced its intention to float on the inventory market, although the family will retain a majority fifty two per cent shareholding.

The appointment of Mr Norsa, it is hoped, will head off the infighting that has befallen different nice family-run Italian businesses, akin to Gucci and Pucci, when their patriarchs died and management handed to their youngsters.

“We’re a big household – there are 65 children and grandchildren. It can be laborious to select a brand new boss,” says Leonardo, who is reported to have been liable for placing forward the flotation plans to the household. “We have to modernise the company and get it ready for the following generation.”

In interviews, Wanda has all the time strongly rejected the opportunity of selling the business, saying not too long ago she was “virtually offended” by the thought. When you loved this article and you would love to receive much more information regarding Luxottica generously visit our web site. But she has conceded that her children, between whom ownership of the corporate is divided, might really feel in a different way. By going public, the second technology of Ferragamos will have the ability to promote their shares in the event that they wish.

It is difficult to tell whether or not Leonardo has discovered it tough having an outsider running the household business. “It is a part of the transition,” ferragamo belt scam he feedback. “We share the identical values.”

He additionally insists that having to reply to outdoors shareholders won’t be a problem. “They are often demanding. However that may be a great thing.”

Leonardo says that regardless of the flotation plans, Salvatore Ferragamo will stay true to its ideas and the household will nonetheless be heavily concerned even after it lists in round two years’ time.

The dynasty is considered one of the company’s biggest property, he says. “An organization owned by the household can transfer a level of safety and integrity. It provides a guarantee of continuity. We do not simply depend on one man who comes and goes. The family is the brand.”

Central to the Salvatore Ferragamo brand is the “Made in Italy” stamp discovered on its products, denoting top quality and good workmanship. For instance, the corporate’s formal Tramezza shoes are hand-made in a manufacturing facility near Florence by half a dozen workers. Nonetheless, production prices are much larger than those of its opponents, many of which have shifted operations to Asia. Leonardo’s brother, Ferrucio, as soon as complained in an interview that a few of the corporate’s staff worked fewer than eight hours each day and had been “spoiled”. They needed, he hinted, to adapt to the worldwide economy.

Leonardo does not promise that every one the company’s goods will likely be made in Italy indefinitely: “Now we have to maintain our eyes open. Things change on the planet. There are other opportunities around the world. We now have an open angle to it.”

Other than shoes, Leonardo’s great love is sailing, a ardour he has been in a position to take pleasure in some type. In 1998, he purchased Nautor, which makes the well-known Swan yachts, having sailed its boats for years as an enthusiast. In his Italian lilt, he recounts the “beautiful story” of how he first came to be concerned with the corporate, which has established such racing occasions as the Swan Regatta and the Swan Cup, and also scooped the trophy in 1973 for the first Whitbread Spherical the World Race.

“I went to visit the manufacturing unit. A new world opened as much as me,” he recalls. “I used to be amazed at the quality and reliability of every worker, especially the delight they have been taking to make it particular.”

Leonardo appreciates good craftsmanship, whether or not in a shoe or a ship. Like Salvatore Ferragamo, Nautor focuses on quality not amount, making simply forty yachts a yr, which range in value from €400,000 (£250,000) to a number of million. “[Sneakers and boats] are each forms of transportation,” he provides and not using a hint of irony, warming to his theme. “The Swan yacht is about branding and quality. Footwear aren’t just about aesthetics however what’s inside them. It’s all in regards to the identification of the product.”

BIOGRAPHY
Born 23 July 1953.

Education University of Imede, Lausanne, Switzerland – business administration degree; Columbia University, New York – administration and finance diploma.

Profession at Salvatore Ferragamo
1973-seventy five: assistant to director, leather division.

1975-80: director, males’s footwear division.
1980-87: director, males’s division.

1987-94: business director, Europe/Asia.
1994-2000: chief executive, Europe/South America/Asia.

2000 to now: chief government of the holding firm.
Different Pursuits

Ferragamo Varina Flats BlackPurchased Nautor in 1998, becoming chairman. Additionally chairman of the board at Camper & Nicholsons, the English yachting enterprise purchased by Nautor in 2001.


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