Luciano Benetton Resigns as Chairman Amid $100M Losses

Benetton faces leadership changes amid significant financial challenges

by Zain ul Abedin
Luciano Benetton Resigns as Chairman Amid $100M Losses
© Pietro DAprano/Getty Images

Luciano Benetton, the co-founder of the renowned apparel brand, has announced his resignation as chairman. In an interview published on Saturday by the Milan daily Corriere della Sera, Benetton, 89, revealed that he is stepping down due to substantial financial losses amounting to 100 million euros ($108.5 million) discovered last year.

He attributed these losses to the brand’s current management. Benetton initially retired from his role in 2012 but returned in 2018 to steer the company back on track. However, he expressed his disappointment in the management team, led by a CEO appointed in 2020, blaming them for the financial downturn.

“In short, I trusted them, and I made a mistake,” Benetton stated, noting that he first became aware of the accumulating losses last September.

Struggles and Losses

The apparel brand, based in the northern Veneto region, has long been celebrated for its vibrant knitwear and iconic advertising campaigns.

However, it has faced significant challenges competing with fast-fashion brands. According to unions, the company has suffered losses of approximately 1 billion euros since 2013. Despite multiple creative and managerial relaunches, Benetton has struggled to regain its former glory.

Benetton’s term as chairman is set to expire in June, aligning with the tenure of the board of the Benetton family’s holding company, Edizione SpA. Edizione is expected to appoint new management to steer the company forward.

The holding company, chaired by Luciano Benetton’s son Alessandro, has a diverse portfolio, including interests in transport and infrastructure through Mundys, as well as food and beverage retail, notably the Autogrill chain, through Dufy.

In a significant move, Edizione sold its stake in Autostrade per l’Italia SpA following intense political scrutiny. This came after the tragic collapse of the Genoa highway bridge, operated by the company, in August 2018, which resulted in the deaths of 43 people.

Benetton's departure marks the end of an era for the family-run brand, which is seeking new leadership to navigate its future amid ongoing financial and competitive challenges.