July 30, 2016

Giorgio Armani sets up his foundation

The enterprising designer yesterday put the official seal on the constitution of an organisation established to: “Implement projects of public and social interest”, ensuring that “the governance assets remain stable over time”, in the name of continuity

di Chiara Bottoni

Giorgio Armani sets up his foundation

Giorgio Armani has safeguarded the financial future of his company by officially confirming a subject that has been the object of rumour and speculation for some time. The enterprising designer issued a press release yesterday morning, announcing the constitution of the Fondazione Giorgio Armani. This organisation, which had already emerged in the past as a possible development for the group (see MFF 1 June 2012), has been established to: “Implement projects of public and social interest,” stated the designer, but will also serve the parallel purpose of: “ensuring that the governance assets of the Armani Group remain stable over time, in respect of and in keeping with certain principles that are particularly important to me and have always inspired my work as a designer and an entrepreneur.” These principles have been identified as: “autonomy and independence, an ethical approach to management with integrity and honesty, a focus on innovation and excellence, which are top priorities in terms of the ongoing development of the Armani brand sustained by appropriate investments, prudent and balanced financial management, limited recourse to debt and a careful approach to acquisitions.” These statements help to clarify a key question relating to the entrepreneurial continuity of the group, as emphasised by Armani further on in his statement: “Through this decision, made in the name of continuity and guaranteed by the foundation and my heirs, I firstly want to reassure all those who work with such loyalty and passion for Armani Group, who have always believed in me, and also all those who have contributed to the long-term success of this company and to whom I shall always be sincerely grateful.” The statements contained in these lines brush aside the theory of sell-offs to financial entities (there was much talk of interest being shown by L’Oréal, Armani’s partner in the profitable beauty business, as a potential buyer of the company) and suggestions of mergers with other companies. All this has been done in the name of continuing a path marked out by Armani himself since 1975, the founding year of a company that has gone on to become a business with a consolidated revenue of 2.6 billion euros in 2015 (+4.5%), which has been defended strenuously over time. The group’s board of directors, headed by the General Director Livio Proli, includes Armani’s sister Rosanna Armani and her son Andrea Camerana, his niece Silvana Armani and Roberta Armani, who looks after international celebrities. However, another equally interesting question hangs over the future of the company. The matter of who will take over the role of creative director. Back in 2012, when the press reported on steps being taken to set up the foundation, Armani stated: “Stylistically speaking we are very strong at the moment. We are well-structured, with a large, composite staff.” However, one thing is certain. Whoever is given the role will have the arduous task of continuing along the path marked out by a designer who has succeeded in establishing an unmistakable style and writing an important chapter in the history of fashion. (all rights reserved)