Benetton Appoints New CEO Amid Reports of 2023 Loss

Benetton Appoints New CEO Amid Reports of 2023 Loss

Claudio Sforza Takes Over From Massimo Renon as the Company Reports Rocky Financial Returns for 2023

The Italian fashion industry is witnessing significant changes as Claudio Sforza steps onboard as the new CEO of Benetton Group, as per sources close to the company. He will replace the outgoing CEO, Massimo Renon, commencing his tenure on June 18.

Notably, Sforza comes with substantial financial and industrial experience, having held leadership roles across sectors like construction, finance, steel, telecommunications and gaming.

The appointment of a new CEO comes in the wake of an alarming interview by the company’s co-founder Luciano Benetton where he announced his exit from the company and his position as president. He expressed the feeling of betrayal by his management team, especially for leading the company to the brink of financial loss, without specifically naming Renon.

The Benetton Group’s board has reportedly approved the financial forecast for 2023, which will be presented to the shareholders’ meeting on June 18. The group’s revenue totaled 1.1 billion euros last year, with an overall net loss of 230 million euros, partially due to a devaluation of 150 million euros. The losses before interest and taxes stood at 113 million euros with net assets totaling 105 million euros.

Even though Luciano Benetton will step down, Edizione, the family’s holding company and the controlling shareholder of Benetton, plans to continue its support of the group’s reorganization and relaunch. It has earmarked 260 million euros for this purpose over the next few years. It is worth noting that over the past three years, Edizione has invested 350 million euros into the Benetton Group’s activities.

Renon joined the Benetton Group in April 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that, he had held significant roles in other reputed companies like Marcolin, Kering and Luxottica. His exit comes as another critical milestone in the company’s recent chronology.

Luciano Benetton had returned to the Benetton Group as executive president in January 2018, with the aim of reestablishing the company that had been experiencing sales decline over the years, due to stiff competition from brands like Zara and H&M. His retirement in April 2012 had led to the company being led by a non-family member, Gianni Mion, for the first time in its history. This was after his son Alessandro Benetton, who had taken over from him, exited the company in 2014.

In his second stint, Luciano Benetton worked with photographer Oliviero Toscani on a mission to reestablish the company’s identity. In February 2019, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was appointed as the brand’s first artistic director with the objective of shifting away from inexpensive goods and moving production back to Europe.

Interestingly, under Renon’s leadership, United Colors of Benetton appointed Andrea Incontri as its new creative director in July 2022. His debut spring 2023 collection was showcased in September during Milan Fashion Week. The brand, however, skipped a runway show in February, hinting towards its possible financial difficulties.