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Essilor International Gets New CEO

He’ll serve on the board of directors of EssilorLuxottica.

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, FRANCE – The board of directors of EssilorLuxottica has named Paul du Saillant as a director of the company in place of Laurent Vacherot, former CEO of Essilor International, who retired.

Effective immediately, du Saillant will take over Vacherot’s responsibilities, including the role of CEO for Essilor International and the coexecutive delegate powers previously granted to Vacherot on May 13, 2019, by Leonardo Del Vecchio, executive chairman, and Hubert Sagnières, executive vice chairman. He will work directly with Francesco Milleri, deputy chairman and CEO of Luxottica Group, “to develop and implement the EssilorLuxottica strategy and integration process,” according to a press release.

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In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the board also decided today to postpone the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting from May 15 to June 25 and to hold it behind closed doors.

Additionally, the board decided to re-evaluate its previous decision on dividend distribution announced on March 6, 2020, at a later date. “At such later date, the Board of Directors may decide whether to confirm, reduce or cancel dividends based on the evolution of the situation,” according to the release.

Essilor and Luxottica completed a merger in October 2018 to form EssilorLuxottica. The organization was then plagued by infighting among its leadership.

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In May 2019, a new settlement agreement addressed governance issues and set the basis for a “renewed start of profound collaboration” between Essilor and Luxottica.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, “EssilorLuxottica and the two operating companies are implementing a contingency plan including cost and cash control measures, putting on hold non-crucial investment initiatives and rightsizing global capacity to meet current demand levels,” according to a March 27 press release.

The company stated that in light of the pandemic, its outlook for 2020 published on March 6 “is no longer valid.”

“During the second quarter, the Company expects revenue to further decelerate with a material impact on profitability,” the company stated. “At present, the Company has insufficient visibility to provide an assessment of the full scope of COVID-19 impact, as the situation remains volatile.”

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