MILAN — Gerd Graehsler, Safilo Group’s chief financial officer, is resigning effective Aug. 28 to undertake a new professional experience.
In a statement on Friday at the end of trading in Milan, where Safilo is publicly listed, chairman Eugenio Razelli and chief executive officer Angelo Trocchia thanked Graehsler “for his significant professional contribution and important support of the group’s turnaround process and development during all the years of the working relationship.”
Graehsler was promoted to his CFO role in December 2014 from his position of director of new business development and corporate strategy.
Before that, from 2001 he had worked for Procter & Gamble, where he held roles of increasing responsibility in the company’s finance and accounting functions, until he was appointed CFO for its global fashion fragrance division in Geneva in 2013.
Graehsler has seen Safilo change skin over the past few years under the lead of Trocchia, and after the decamping of the key Gucci license to Kering Eyewear and of the Fendi and Dior licenses to Thélios.
As reported, Safilo closed 2022 with sales surpassing the 1 billion euro threshold, two years ahead of plan and concluding four years of turnaround, which contributed to a remodeling of the Italian eyewear company. Proprietary brands represented an important driving force behind the group’s overall performance, in particular Smith, Carrera and Polaroid.
Safilo also produces eyewear collections under licensing agreements for brands ranging from Tommy Hilfiger, David Beckham, Carolina Herrera, Chiara Ferragni, Isabel Marant and Jimmy Choo to Marc Jacobs, Missoni and Moschino, to name a few.
Safilo’s management has given a mandate to explore alternative solutions for its storied Longarone site, in Italy’s Veneto region, as reported. Earlier this week, the company said it is in advanced negotiations with entrepreneur Carlo Fulchir and with Thélios, which would allow protection of the plant, the current 458 employees and their know-how.
Thélios was formed through a joint venture between LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Marcolin. In 2021 LVMH took full control of that venture after agreeing to purchase Marcolin’s 49 percent stake in the business for an undisclosed sum. Separately, Marcolin bought back the 10 percent stake LVMH owned in that Italian company. Thélios’ state-of-the-art, 194,400-square-foot plant inaugurated in 2018 is also based in Longarone.
Graehsler owns 100,000 ordinary Safilo shares and the company said he is not entitled to any compensation or other benefits.
The company said a successor, who will be announced as soon as approved by the board, has been identified.
Safilo first-half results will be released on Aug. 2.