Luxottica Wholesale’s Uguzzoni: Seeing ‘Collaborative’ Opportunities in the Future Merger With Essilor

With the industry continuing to process the news about the historic, pending mega merger of Essilor [Euronext Paris: EI] and Luxottica [MTA: LUX; NYSE: LUX], the team at Luxottica Wholesale N.A. is reinforcing the opportunities of the deal and emphasizing that the future will take on a “collaborative mindset.” The eyewear giant is actively seeking the views and input of its customers.In an exclusive interview with VMail, Fabrizio Uguzzoni, president of

Fabrizio Uguzzoni

Fabrizio Uguzzoni

Luxottica Wholesale N.A. said, “Our future requires a new, more collaborative mindset. This is the rationale of this unique combination—we believe two companies with shared values and very complementary expertise can address these opportunities better together, in ways we haven’t thought of yet. I believe it’s a chapter that we still have to write. We can’t write it by ourselves, we need other stakeholders in the industry, starting with our customers, in partnership with them. This is a chance for us to reimagine the industry for the benefit of all its stakeholders.”

Uguzzoni added, “We’ve been using the whole organization to touch base with hundreds of customers over the past couple of weeks. The response has been positive. Many people are taking time to digest the news, for sure. Even if the combination of the two companies is completely natural in terms of compatibility, it’s still a surprise and we understand that. But having a two way dialogue is important. We’re asking customers to send their thoughts to so we can address them.”

Uguzzoni pointed out that independents represent the majority of Luxoticca Wholesale N.A.’s sales. “Independents represent the largest share of our wholesale business—so we are deeply invested in their success. We know very well that with our customers, it goes beyond what we say—it’s about the actions we take. This will not happen overnight—it will be a long journey.”

Asked about specific programs, Uguzzoni pointed out, “We are committed to investing even more in the existing programs we have in place. For example, within the past six months, we’ve created a dedicated training and education department and they have already delivered thousands of hours of education to ODs and opticians. The focus of the training is on three areas: Ideal Assortment, Art of Retailing and Brand Storytelling.”

He said, “Elevating the importance of vision care is the real game changer. And I know Essilor shares our passion for this. Together, we can combine resources and use every channel available to talk about the important of a regular eye exam—this will help grow the pie and drive consumers to get their eyes examined. In general, the three pillars of this merger are going to be innovation, service and new ways of reaching the end consumer.”

Luxottica and Essilor executives have emphasized that the proposed deal, which would create a new industry powerhouse with combined annual sales exceeding €15 billion, would not close before the end of the year. As VMail has reported, the complex process of combining the two eyewear groups will occur gradually over the next three to four years.