Patrizio Bertelli speaks out on pipeline and retirement support – WWD

Prada Group CEO Patrizio Bertelli on Friday urged the Italian government to support small and medium-sized businesses in the fashion industry in the face of the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, as it has made during the COVID-19 pandemic. . He pointed out that the size of these companies “does not allow them to have bargaining power and that they are starting to have problems”.

Small and medium-sized businesses are “the axis of the fashion system” in Italy, and they must be helped by the government “immediately and with the same procedures employed during the pandemic” to overcome the consequences of the war, said Bertelli .

Earlier this month, the Prada Group suspended its retail operations in Russia, and Bertelli said the company would pay its employees in the country their salaries for three months and then “see how things develop”. .

The CEO was speaking at the two-day Future for Fashion event held in Florence in the Salone dei Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio town hall on Friday. The event was organized by Confindustria Florencein collaboration with the City of Florence and the Centro Florence by Moda Italiana,

Bertelli gave a tangible sign of its increased efforts to protect the country’s unique supply chain last year when the Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna groups joined forces to acquire a majority stake in Filati Biagioli Modesto SpA, which specializes in production of cashmere and other precious yarns.

Under the deal, although financial details were not disclosed, Prada and Zegna each took a 40% stake in the company, which is based in Montale, outside Pistoia, Italy.

Further underscoring a strong relationship with Chairman and CEO Gildo Zegna, Bertelli said on Friday that he took “a small” stake in the Zegna company through a personal investment (and not through the Prada Group). publicly traded), expressing his high regard for the executive. .

In December, Zegna listed on the New York Stock Exchange after entering into a commercial agreement with Investindustrial Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by investment affiliates of Investindustrial VII LP.

Again, Bertelli said he had no plans to sell the Prada company. “There’s no reason to sell, you sell if the next generation doesn’t want to continue, if they’re not interested,” he said.

Instead, Bertelli reiterated that he will hand over to his son Lorenzo “in a smart way, in two to three years, when he feels ready”.

As reported, in November, at Prada’s first Capital Markets Day since 2014, Bertelli addressed the issue of his retirement, saying Lorenzo would be the next to lead the company.

This was not surprising as Lorenzo has increased his responsibilities and been a driver of change since joining the company in 2017. He was appointed Group Marketing Director in 2019 and additionally Head of Corporate Responsibility corporate social responsibility in 2020. In May, he joined as director of the board.

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