i-ItalyNY - 5thBirthday Special Issue. The Best of i-Itay - page 23

Special Issue | Winter 2017-2018 |
i-Italy Magazine
| 23
to make glasses. In a very simple way, Claudio
managed to effectively convey how his father’s
sincere passion for his job led him to start a great
business. The continuous search for better so-
lutions led Luxottica to industrialize eyewear
production, and turned eyeglasses from a solely
medical device into a glamorous and fashion-
able object. The turning point for the company
came in the eighties when Luxottica acquired
Lens Crafters and SunGlass Hut. Thanks to this
strategic decision, Luxottica has become one of
the few international Italian companies and a
worldwide leader in the eyewear industry. This
happened precisely when Claudio was in charge
of Luxottica’s US market. Together with Lens
Crafters, Luxottica also acquired Casual Corner,
a women’s-apparel chain in serious financial dif-
ficulties. Claudio took over the company and af-
ter some years managed to turn things around.
After this experience, he decided to run a busi-
ness on his own and become an entrepreneur
himself, acquiring the iconic American brand
Brooks Brothers in 2011.
I barely knew the story of Luxottica, but what
struck me most while listening to Claudio was
the simplicity of this powerful story and his vis-
ible and incredible respect for his father, as well
as his loyalty to the company. Claudio moved
to the United States in 1982 and undoubtedly
played a very important role in the internation-
alization of the company. Nevertheless, he never
mentioned himself. He never personally ap-
peared in his tale. He always used the pronoun
‘we.’ That day, I learned a very important lesson
about entrepreneurship, vision, courage, humil-
ity and love—love as a secret to true success.
Inspirational leadership
I was so inspired by his speech that the next time
I saw Claudio, I asked him if he would be willing
to speak to the students at La Scuola d’Italia. I
have always been very committed to the Scuola
d’Italia in New York and I had already invited
other luminaries to speak to the students. I know
from personal experience howmuch one person
can influence and change a young person’s life,
and Claudio’s words were so inspirational to me,
that I wanted the students to share in my expe-
rience. He immediately accepted my offer and
even changed his schedule in order to talk to the
students. When I think about that day, I like to
imagine that at least one student was captivated
by that illuminating conversation and managed
to find his own vocation and inner passion, and
just maybe he/she will follow a path to become
a wise entrepreneur. As Claudio said that day,
“the true secret of real success lies in following
your own passions. Don’t set money as a goal in
your life. If you follow your passions and work
hard, money will follow.”
Claudio has lived in theUS formany years, and
although he has adopted the core values of Ameri-
can culture, he has not forgotten his origins and
feels very much part of the Italian community. He
is deeply aware of the importance of being part
of the community and giving back to society. Yet
he always keeps a low profile, never mentioning
his contributions to numerous philanthropic or-
ganizations; he is one of themost humble people I
have evermet. He is very down-to-earth andnever
assumes everybody knows who he is. He may be
the CEOand President of Brooks Brothers, but he
behaves as though he were just another company
employee. He simply loves what he does. The se-
cret to true happiness is being aware of what really
matters, and Claudio knows what matters to him.
That is the essence of Claudio Del Vecchio: a very
successful businessman and a modest person.
All the power that lies in modesty
His incredible commitment and strong work eth-
ic made him the ideal candidate for the Cavaliere
del Lavoro, the most prestigious Italian honor,
bestowed upon those who have distinguished
themselves through their commitment as entre-
preneurs. I am very glad that the Consulate pro-
posed his name to the President of the Republic
and made the dream of any Italian entrepreneur
come true for him. Over the years, he has proved
to be an exceptional businessman, silently con-
tributing to the international expansion of Luxot-
tica first, then saving Brooks Brothers (a company
almost on the verge of bankruptcy) and turning
it into the flourishing company we know today.
He really deserved this recognition!
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportu-
nity to get to know Claudio. He showed me how
much power lies inmodesty. He leads by example,
an extraordinary, modest and powerful example.
Grazie Claudio!
ww
* Luicia Pasqualini, former Vice-Consul of Italy in
New York, nowworks at the Direzione Generale
Sistema Paese of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
where she heads the Ufficio VII, dealing with the
promotion of Italian language in the world.
ww
Claudio always keeps a
low profile. He may be the
CEO and President of
Brooks Brothers, but he
behaves as though he were
just another company
eployee. He simply loves
what he does. He leads by
example. He showed me
howmuch power lies in
modesty.
Claudio Del Vecchio being interviewed by i-ItalyTV.
The project was commissioned by laFondazioneNY, then
presided by late Massimo Vignelli, on the occasion of its 2013
gala that honored, besides Del Vecchio, John Elkann, Alberto
Cribiore and Richard Meier.
ClaudioDel Vecchio
on i-ItalyTV
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