Claudio Del Vecchio, President and CEO of Brooks Brothers Group, is the guest of the third of a series of events which focus on the excellence of Italian human capital and personal success stories by presenting Italian top managers holding important positions in global companies. He will be in conversation with Maria Teresa Cometto.
Claudio Del Vecchio has relaunched the historical brand of shirts worn by Warhol, Gatsby and by Kennedy and has created around the brand a diversified manufacturing and commercial group that operates with a portfolio of companies specialized in the field of fashion which boasts 480 points of sale worldwide, 400 of which managed directly. He moved to America in 1982, were he contributed in a decisive way to the success of the family brand Luxottica which become the first manufacturer and distributor of eyeglasses in the USA, leading the way to the quotation of Luxottica on the New York Stock Exchange. On 2 June 2014 he has been appointed by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, Cavaliere del Lavoro.
Luxottica, a company founded by his father Leonardo in 1961 in Agordo, a small town near Belluno, turned eyeglasses from a solely medical device into a glamorous and fashionable object. The turning point for the company came in the eighties when Luxottica acquired Lens Crafters and SunGlass Hut. Thanks to this strategic decision, Luxottica has become one of the few international Italian companies and a worldwide leader in the eyewear industry. This happened precisely when Claudio was in charge of Luxottica’s US market. Together with Lens Crafters, Luxottica also acquired Casual Corner, a women’s-apparel chain in serious financial difficulties. Claudio took over the company and after some years managed to turn things around. After this experience, he decided to run a business on his own and become an entrepreneur himself, acquiring the iconic American brand Brooks Brothers in 2001.
Over the years, he has proved to be an exceptional businessman, silently contributing to the international expansion of Luxottica first, then saving Brooks Brothers (a company almost on the verge of bankruptcy) and turning it into the flourishing company we know today.
From The Brooks Brother’s website interview with its President: “My father instilled a love for beautiful things and believed that quality is the best investment one can make. To go to work every day with passion and to share that passion is something he values greatly. He taught me to think long-term and not to be influenced by trends, which is important at a company like Brooks Brothers. Being true to our brand, and not just short-term fashion, has served us well throughout our history.”
Claudio remembers how his father’s sincere passion for his job led him to start a great business: “the true secret of real success lies in following your own passions, Mr. Del Vecchio said to his son. Don’t set money as a goal in your life. If you follow your passions and work hard, money will follow.”
Maria Teresa Cometto is a journalist and award-winning author based in New York. Since 2000 she has been covering business and high-tech for Corriere della Sera, the leading Italian daily, and writing for other important magazines.