Leonardo Del Vecchio.
CHARENTON-Le-PONT, France—Leonardo Del Vecchio, business visionary, founder of Luxottica Group and chairman of EssilorLuxottica, has passed away at the age of 87. In a brief statement this morning, EssilorLuxottica said, "EssilorLuxottica sadly announces today that its chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio has passed away. The company expresses its deepest condolences to the family and to the global employee community for this enormous loss. The Board will meet to determine next steps." Del Vecchio rose from poverty, spending much of his childhood in an orphanage. He later studied tool-and-die making and set up a small shop in Agordo, in the Italian Dolomites, north of Venice, where he sold parts to local eyeglass makers and then started making eyewear. He eventually rose to become one of Italy's richest, most prominent business leaders.

His influence in the international eyewear industry was singular as he developed the company's business in many countries, partnered with several prominent licensors and brands, initiating vertical integration efforts, organic expansion and a series of acquisitions. 

His company, Delfin S.p.A., held a controlling stake in EssilorLuxottica, the French-Italian eyewear company that resulted from the 2018 merger of Luxottica with French lens giant Essilor. The company now has more than 180,000 employees, operations spanning the globe.

He was executive chairman of EssilorLuxottica between October 2018 and December 2020.

In 1986, Del Vecchio was awarded the honor of “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by the President of the Italian Republic.

In May 1995, he received an honorary degree in Business Administration from the Venice Ca’ Foscari University. In 1999, he received a Master honoris causa in International Business from MIB – Management School in Trieste, and in 2002 he received an honorary degree in Managerial Engineering from the University of Udine. In March 2006, Leonardo Del Vecchio received another honorary degree in Materials Engineering from Politecnico of Milan.

In December 2012, the Foundation CUOA awarded him an honorary master’s degree in Business Administration.

In 2017, he established the Leonardo Del Vecchio Foundation to support charitable and non-profit initiative.

Del Vecchio was chairman of Delfin S.à r.l. and Aterno S.à r.l., chairman of the Leonardo Del Vecchio Foundation, vice chairman of Covivio S.A. and chairman of the Strategic and Investment Committee of the same company.

VMAIL will follow up soon with more details as they become available.