Eyewear tycoon Leonardo del Vecchio dies, leaving a $27 billion empire

A tycoon in eyewear
52nd on the Forbes List
Italy's second-richest man
Rags to riches
Self-made
It started in an orphanage
'The orphanage forged his character'
Young entrepreneur
Making frames for glasses
Sole owner of Luxottica
Acquisitions, stock market and global growth
A year of madness: Oakley, Beni Stabili and a fine
The merger with Essilor
Making everyone's glasses
Children continue the work
A tycoon in eyewear

Leonardo del Vecchio, CEO of EssilorLuxottica, died at the age of 87 in his native Milan, as confirmed by the company itself.

52nd on the Forbes List

Located at number 52 on the Forbes list of billionaires, Leonardo Del Vecchio is leaving a fortune estimated at 27.3 billion dollars, Forbes estimates.

"Today, the world has lost a visionary"

He amassed the fortune while running the largest production and distribution company in the eyewear sector, with brands such as Oakley and Ray-Ban.

Photo: Instagram - @essilorluxottica

Italy's second-richest man

Only surpassed by Giovanni Ferrero (Ferrero Group - 36,2 billion dollars), Italy's second-richest man leaves a multimillion-dollar legacy that will fall into the hands of the six children he had in three different marriages, as reported by Forbes.

Rags to riches

Beyond his multi-million dollar empire, Leonardo del Vecchio leaves behind a story of overcoming one's humblest origins.

Self-made

Tomasso Ebhardt, who said farewell to Leonardo Del Vecchio on social media, wrote the authorized biography of the businessman.  There, he shows the evolution of Leonardo del Vecchio from an abandoned child to a successful businessman.

Photo: Instagram - @tebhardt

It started in an orphanage

As Forbes recounts, the businessman spent seven years of his life in the Martinitt orphanage, where his parents left him to work.

'The orphanage forged his character'

According to Tomasso Ebhardt, the orphanage forged Leonardo del Vecchio's character but also gave him "that taste for precision with which he would make his fortune as an entrepreneur."

Young entrepreneur

Leonardo del Vecchio began working at Johnson at the age of 14 while studying in the afternoons. At the age of 25, he would begin his own entrepreneurial adventure.

Photo: Instagram - @luxottica

Making frames for glasses

Tomasso Ebhardt recalls that the Local Administration of Belluno province had offered land to those who wanted to start a business in the area. It was there that Luxottica started its first factory of eyewear in 1958.

Photo: Instagram - @leonardo_mdv

Sole owner of Luxottica

In 1969, at the age of 34, Leonardo del Vecchio was already the sole owner of Luxottica. Since then, the international growth of the company was enormous, and he quickly became very rich.

Acquisitions, stock market and global growth

In 1981 he made his first major acquisition, buying the North American Avantgarde. And in 1990, Luxottica was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. A decade later, it would do the same on the Milan Stock Exchange.

A year of madness: Oakley, Beni Stabili and a fine

In 2007, Luxottica faced two of its most important acquisitions: Real Estate Beni Stabili and Oakley, the world's largest company in sports glasses, in an operation that cost 2,1 billion dollars. A year later, the Belluno Tax Commission would accuse Leonardo del Vecchio of tax evasion, ordering him to pay the State 20.4 million euros ($21.6 million).

The merger with Essilor

The fine is nothing when we talk about the numbers he spent on another merger. Luxottica joined Essilor in 2018 to form a conglomerate with a value of 50 billion euros (53 billion dollars) and more than 180,000 employees. It has 9,000 stores around the world, as Forbes points out.

(Image: Del Vecchio's son Leonardo Maria)

Making everyone's glasses

Since the mid-90s, Luxottica has been the largest producer and distributor of glasses in the world, manufacturing for almost all eyewear brands. For readers wearing glasses, it is probable that they are coming from this gigantic company.

Photo: Instagram - @luxottica

Children continue the work

Thus, after more than 60 years of building an empire, the children of Leonardo del Vecchio continue his business. Of course, the first thing is to give Luxottica's father a worthy farewell.

Más para ti