Leonardo Del Vecchio is an Italian businessman and founder of the world’s largest producer, marketer, and distributor of glasses and lenses, Luxottica Group.
Born to a poor Milanese family in 1935, Leonardo led a fatherless childhood and was forced to live in an orphanage at the age of 7 under the care of nuns.
At age 14, he was forced by hardship to work in order to support his impoverished family. His first job was in Milan working as a novice with a tool manufacturer. He joined evening classes studying industrial engineering at the age of 19, continuing working during the day all along.
Leonardo became fascinated and much passionate about glasses and frame with time and this drove him into moving to a small village in Venice known as Agordo, where one can find all the players of the eye glass industry offering a lot to learn about the trade from design to marketing.
In 1967, Leonardo took the decision to enter the glasses assembly business. He now had 6 years of experience but it was not easy due to fierce competition. Expanding his work, Leonardo found his own company, Luxottica. Ten years later in 1976, Luxottica stopped making frames for other brands and launched its own eye wear brand. Using extensive research, the brand went on to become the market leader. There was no looking back; Leonardo’s effective strategies helped him in developing a successful sales network.
Leonardo’s futuristic approach, timely decisions and strategies helped Luxottica to have full control and take over every stage of the eye glass manufacturing process. The Luxottica group now also began acquisitions in areas of distribution and retail. The group eventually took over some of the most famous Italian brands such as Lens Crafters, Persol and Vogue moving on to acquiring Ray Ban, the most famous American brand. Over the years, Luxottica has been seen to acquire all major eye glass brands including Oakley which was bought for $2.1 billion, giving Luxottica a major break in the sports segment. In addition to this, Luxottica now manufactures for the world famous brands such as Versace, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Ferragamo, Prada, Chanel and Armani.
With a total of 77,734 employees and over 7,000 stores, the self made successful business man, boasts a net worth of $11 billion He is ranked 71st on the Forbes global fortune list, and is the second richest man in Italy.