Unlike so many brands that are now owned by conglomerates, the Armani house continues to be privately run and while no one’s sharing all the details, a succession plan is in place to keep the empire intact after its founder passes.
Giorgio Armani, the 83-year old designer and a pioneer of Italian ready-to-wear fashion, shared some of his plan for the future, as reported in The Wealth Adviser’s article, “Giorgio Armani Outlines Succession Plan To Keep House Intact.” When he dies, there will be three people he has selected who will be in charge of a foundation created last year to serve as a vehicle for charitable investments and as a succession tool.
Armani said the foundation will be the tie-breaker, if the evenly-numbered board of directors for his business reaches an impasse. He has wisely planned to protect his empire even in the face of disagreements.
"What we have created stimulates my heirs to remain in harmony and prevents the group from being bought or from breaking up," he said.
The interview didn’t cover who will take over the creative direction of the fashion empire he founded in 1975. The Armani collection now includes the ready-to-wear lines Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and Armani Exchange, in addition to the couture line Armani Prive and Armani Casa home decor and furnishings.
His heirs include his nieces, Roberta and Silvana, who both work at the group, and a nephew, Andrea Camerana, who is a board member. Long-time assistant Leo Dell'Orco is in charge of the men's line and also is a member of the board.
"Believe me, it is horrendous to decide what to leave to whom, if it is right or not right. Every five minutes, you are placed in front of a reality of a man to whom something could suddenly happen. This is true of everyone, but more so at 83," Armani said.
Armani says he’s never been tempted to follow other Italian brands, many of which were purchased by conglomerates or by foreign investors. While the company’s revenues dropped by 5% in 2016, he says this was part of a long-term strategy to relaunch Armani Exchange and simplify its overall portfolio, and that the company is expected to return to growth in 2019.
“I want to be in charge in my house," he said. With a succession plan in place, he is confident that his vision will continue long after he has passed.
Reference: The Wealth Adviser (October 23, 2017) “Giorgio Armani Outlines Succession Plan To Keep House Intact”