Home » Lvmh, Belloni starts his own business: “Ready to invest in Italy”

Lvmh, Belloni starts his own business: “Ready to invest in Italy”

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Lvmh, Belloni starts his own business: “Ready to invest in Italy”

Belloni: LVMH is still focusing on Italy, ready investments

Toni Belloni, who will turn seventy in a few months, laughs in her interview with Courier Economy. «I like to call myself a CEO, Chief Energy Officer», jokes the number two of Bernard Arnault, the LVMH magnate. At the end of March, it was announced that Belloni leaves the board of directors and the role of general manager to dedicate himself to strategic projects and the Italian branch.

These changes occurred after the assembly. When asked the reason for this decision, he explains: «I will tell you something that will make my wife Giovanna laugh. My life is in 23-year cycles: After 23 years of training, I spent another 23 years at Procter & Gamble. In 2001 I joined LVMH, where I worked for another 23 years during which we achieved extraordinary results. Leaving now is a positive decision for both me and the company, which needs new perspectives and a younger team, which can guide Mr. Arnault’s future succession. It is a transition that we have planned together for some time. But I have no intention of retiring, I will definitely continue to work. In addition to collaborating with LVMH, I will have more time for my family and other interests. I will remain on the board of directors of Barilla, where I have been for 9 years, and I have some personal business projects. But the word “retirement” is not part of my plans.”

When asked what these projects are, he replies: «I have a shipyard in Pisa with some friends, I have invested in an Australian brand called Deus Ex Machina, specializing in motorcycles and surfing, and I also have Padel centers with my son Francesco, as well as investments in Italian companies. All very funny!

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Regarding his role as Arnault’s right-hand man, Belloni reflects: «It was one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurial experiences of the last 20-25 years. Having a leadership role has been an incredible privilege. Mr. Arnault is the founder, but is actively involved in the operational business. He is passionate and focuses on critical issues. Despite being number one, he visits the shops every Saturday, an example for me and for the 210,000 employees of the group. After so many years, he can still see things from the customers’ point of view. Mr. Arnault embodies the typical need of French culture. Quality is essential, details matter and the goal is excellence in everything we do.” As we speak, the LVMH group has grown significantly: in 2001, it had around 60 brands with revenues of 12.2 billion euros. Today, it operates 75 fashion houses and generated a turnover in 2023 of 86.2 billion euros.

Belloni reflects on his contribution: «With the help of an exceptional team, I believe I have brought positive energy, strategic analysis and a clear strategic direction. I had the opportunity and challenge of taking on my role immediately after September 11, 2001. Crises are opportunities to rethink business strategies. We analyzed our portfolio and opted for an internal growth strategy, focusing on the most important fashion houses with the greatest potential, and selling the less relevant ones. This remains our main strategy. That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped making acquisitions. Over the years, we have integrated brands such as Hublot, Bulgari, Loro Piana, Tiffany and more. The stories of our maisons are fascinating, true sagas that span the centuries.”

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When asked to name his favorite, he replies: «I cannot fail to mention Louis Vuitton, the most prestigious fashion house. Founded in the mid-nineteenth century, it evolved along with changes in means of transport: from carriages to trains and cars. Today, Louis Vuitton trolleys are an icon in airports around the world. Looking to the future, we will continue to pioneer the art of travel, even with the advent of drones, rockets and self-driving vehicles. I’m also very fond of Sephora. Acquired at the end of the 90s for around 400 million euros, when I arrived in 2001 it was in financial difficulty, but we decided to keep it and transform it from a distributor to a real maison, focusing on distinctive elements, the most promising markets and the offer of innovative products. Twenty years later, Sephora has become the world‘s leading beauty retailer, with sales of 16 billion euros per year.” Speaking with Belloni is an engaging and enlightening experience, which offers a privileged vision of the world of business and company management.

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