MILAN (AP) — The Prada fashion house began charting a line of succession on its business side, announcing Tuesday that it is tapping a former LVMH executive as its next CEO and confirming that Miuccia Prada will continue in her creative roles.
Andrea Guerra is set to be confirmed by the board next month as the new CEO, succeeding Patrizio Bertelli, who will stay on as chairman. The move is intended as a step toward ultimately handing the reins of Prada Group to Bertelli and Miuccia Prada’s son, Lorenzo Bertelli. The younger Bertelli now oversees digital marketing and sustainability.
The statement emphasized that Miuccia Prada will remain co-creative director of Prada with Raf Simons, creative director of Miu Miu and a board member.
“This is a fundamental step we have decided to undertake, while completely engaged in the company, to contribute more to the evolution of the Prada Group, and to ease the succession of Lorenzo Bertelli, the future leader of the group,’’ Patrizio Bertelli and Prada said in a statement.
Guerra, 57, is one of Italy’s highest-profile executives, serving as the long-time CEO of Luxottica, the world’s largest eyewear company, followed by a stint at the Eataly global chain of eateries and marketplace for Italian-produced specialties. Most recently, he was in executive positions at the French conglomerate LVMH.
Succession is an issue at Italy’s family-run companies, and not only in fashion, and the move appears intend on sending a message to financial markets that a plan is in place. Guerra has longtime experience in a family-run company, serving for a decade as CEO at Luxottica before owner and founder, the late Leonardo del Vecchio, took back day-to-day operations following disagreements.
Prada denied that bringing on Raf Simons in 2020 was a move designed to set up the creative succession at the fashion house specializing in luxury handbags, footwear and understated apparel. Still, speculation started anew after the Belgian designer announced last month that he is closing his eponymous fashion brand after 27 years.
Besides the Prada and Miu Miu fashion houses, the Prada Group also includes the footwear companies Church’s and Car Shoe, as well as the pastry shop Marchese with 627 stores in 70 countries.
Prada trades in Hong Kong, where shares closed down 2.33% just before the announcement was made.
Colleen Barry, The Associated Press