Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica said it aims to give glasses “superpowers” in its first strategy update since the death of charismatic Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio in June.
The Italian company, which teamed up with Meta on smart glasses in 2020, plans to build “a gateway” to augmented reality and the metaverse by improving features such as those that allow people to make hands-free calls via WhatsApp and take photos, said Federico Buffa, head of its eyewear research and development.
The company confirmed financial targets of a mid-single-digit revenue growth through 2026 and adjusted operating profit at 19-20% of revenue by 2026 by boosting e-commerce and with the help of bolt-on acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions are part of EssilorLuxottica’s growth strategy, deputy CEO Paul du Saillant said. But any potential deal won’t happen within the sector due to a dearth of significant targets, according to CEO Francesco Milleri.
The 63-year-old Milleri, who has been EssilorLuxottica’s chief executive since 2020, has also served as chair since June. Del Vecchio leaned on Milleri as he engineered the 2018 deal that combined Luxottica, the eyewear giant he founded, with French lens specialist Essilor.
Now, Milleri will again play a crucial role in the company’s future. He’ll be tasked with seeing through his mentor’s dream of catapulting EssilorLuxottica into the exclusive club of companies valued at more than 100 billion euros ($100 billion). The eyewear giant currently has a market value of about 68.4 billion euros.
Milleri faces challenges stretching beyond EssilorLuxottica. Following Del Vecchio’s death, he took over as chair of the family’s Delfin holding, which, in addition to control of EssilorLuxottica, counts stakes of just under 20% in investment bank Mediobanca and just under 10% in insurer Assicurazioni Generali among its $25 billion in assets.
Del Vecchio was part of an investor group that challenged Generali’s management by presenting an alternative plan to boost the insurer’s market value by actively seeking merger and acquisition deals. Milleri could follow suit and press both Generali and Mediobanca to change their strategy.