Salvatore Ferragamo reformed its corporate governance and appointed its former chief executive Michele Norsa, 71, as executive deputy chairman, rekindling speculation of a possible change of ownership.
Ferragamo’s board approved a new governance framework, resulting in its main shareholder Ferragamo Finanziaria focusing on strategic guidance and planning and entrusting the management of the company entirely to its executive managers.
Ferragamo Finanziaria, which is controlled by the Ferragamo family, holds a 54.28 percent stake in the company. Family members hold another 10.69 percent in Salvatore Ferragamo, according to the company’s website.
As consequence of the review, Giamoco (James) Ferragamo resigned as board member to give way to Norsa, who became a director and deputy chairman as well as taking over the executive powers of the chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo, the eldest son of the company’s founder Salvatore.
Norsa was the company’s chief executive from 2006 to 2016 and his task involves “strict co-operation” with the current CEO, Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, in implementing the company’s strategic plans. Norsa has also taken over the chairmanship of the executive committee and the brand & product strategic committee. His new role became effective on May 28 and runs until the next shareholder meeting. The company already held its ordinary annual general meeting on May 8.
James Ferragamo will continue in his role as brand & product and communication director. He has been also confirmed as manager with responsibilities over the application of stock exchange regulations.
Ferragamo’s share price rose by 16.2 percent on the news. The reason why investors got excited about Norsa’s arrival is that he is an industrial partner of the investment fund FSI as well as deputy chairman of Missoni, an Italian fashion house in which FSI bought a 41.2 percent stake in July 2018.
The Italian broker Websim said that a change of ownership for the company cannot be ruled out but it sees it as unlikely in the short term. It also wondered if the new governance could lead to friction between Norsa and Le Divelec.
The American brokerage Jefferies estimates that Norsa is de facto the company’s new head and that Le Divelec’s position needs to be clarified. It also believes that with Ferruccio Ferragamo stepping back all options are on the table.