Luigino Rossi was unanimous elected earlier this month as the first honorary president of ANCI, the Italian shoe industry association, on the eve of its annual convention, held in a palazzo near Venice formerly owned by his family and attended by a record number of delegates from all over Italy. The 71-year-old executive ran ANCI for four years from 1983 to 1987, followed by four years as chairman of CEC, the European shoe industry federation. He currently chairs a “wise men committee” composed of former presidents of ANCI.

Rossi continues to act as chairman and chief executive of Rossimoda, the Venitian manufacturer of high-end women’s shoes set up by his father Narciso in 1942. He has run it since 1956. In 2003 Rossimoda’s major licensor, LVMH, acquired a controlling stake in his company, which is set to book a pre-tax profit in the double-digit millions on record sales of €72-73 million this year.

The group is now looking for a general manager to succeed Rossi as he plans to retire gradually, leaving the company in 2009-10. He has a young new family and continues as vice president of La Fenice, the recently rebuilt opera house in Venice. He previously acted for 20 years as chairman of Il Gazzettino, the daily newspaper from Venice.

Rossimoda produces shoes under such brand names as Céline, Christian Lacroix, Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo and Marc by Marc Jacobs. After decades of licensing fashion brands, Rossimoda is considering the launch of a range of shoes under the company’s own name.

A first step in this direction will be the launch of a new chain of stores under the name of Rossimoda on a franchising basis. The first one should open next March in Moscow, to be followed by other locations in Eastern Europe and in the Asian countries.