April 18, 2018 / 12:34 PM / in 3 months

Exclusive: Italy's Ferragamo to set up executive committee, delay CEO choice - sources

MILAN (Reuters) - Salvatore Ferragamo will delay the appointment of a new CEO and set up an executive management committee to steer the Italian luxury group’s ongoing revamp, sources close to the matter told Reuters.

People walk past a Salvatore Ferragamo shop in Rome, Italy, February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/Files

Since launching a strategic plan last year to boost its appeal to a younger clientele and reverse falling sales and profitability, the family-owned firm famous for shoes worn by Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn issued a profit warning in December and lost CEO Eraldo Poletto in early March.

Chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo took temporary charge after Poletto stepped down and said that, while the company would take the time needed to find the right CEO candidate, he intended to hold the reins for as short a period as possible.

One of the sources told Reuters the executive committee the chairman was pulling together would include managers from outside the company, adding that it could take up to 18 months to find a new CEO.

“(Ferragamo) will not take a leap in the dark in choosing a successor (to Poletto),” a second source said.

Both sources said that Alessandro Corsi, head of the group’s EMEA region and former investor relations manager, had recently come out as a top adviser to Ferragamo, having previously clashed with Poletto’s management choices.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “There is not only one manager but many valid people within the group on whom Ferragamo relies to define a new organisational structure.”

She declined to comment further on management plans.

The sources said that the new CEO would not come from within the Ferragamo family and that it had yet to put together a shortlist of candidates.

They also said there were no indications that the Ferragamos intended to sell their stake in the company, a possibility repeatedly denied by the chairman.

Shares in Ferragamo gradually rose to reach a maximum of 23.79 euros per share, hitting their highest price since October last year. Shares were up 2.33 percent at 1305 GMT, outperforming Milan’s flat blue chip index.

Models present creations from the Salvatore Ferragamo Autumn/Winter 2017 collection during Milan Fashion Week, Italy February 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Files

Writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Valentina Za, David Goodman and Adrian Croft

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