Who owns Gucci now? The French corporation Kering has been owning the luxury brand since 1999

By Sonam Peldon — ON Feb 05, 2022
Gucci
Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Gucci has been in the fashion game for a little more than a century. Today, many associate the brand with affluence and exclusivity. But it’s no secret that the journey so far has seen difficult roads ranging from near bankruptcy to the murder of one of its heirs.

Since its inception, the Italian brand has undergone various reformations during its lifetime. Though it was initially founded by Guccio Gucci and passed on to his family, the Gucci family’s contribution to the brand is currently only in the name it holds. Despite the numerous changes in ownership and concept throughout the years, Gucci has persevered as an exclusive fashion brand.

Gucci was acquired by Kering in 1999 and became a full subsidiary of the corporation by 2001

François-Henri Pinault Kering
François-Henri Pinault, chief executive of Kering. Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

The French conglomerate, Kering, which was then known as Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR), bought out Gucci from another French luxury company LVMH in 1999, which had owned about 35 percent of the company.

To gain independent control from the management of LVMH, the then creative director, Tom Ford, and the CEO of Gucci, Domenico De Sole, had reached out to the French financer, Francois Pinault and his group PPR.

By 2001, following an unpleasant corporate battle of ownership, Pinault bought the remaining stake owned by its rival, LVMH, and took effective control of the Gucci Group.

De Sole told The New York Times; “PPR made it very clear that they want to run Gucci as an independent company.”

Two years later, Ford and De Sole, decided to leave the company after failing to negotiate a contract with PPR. The two of them had played a significant role in revamping the brand of Gucci and for propping it up as “one of the fashion world’s most dynamic design houses”, states The New York Times.

Pinault Printemps Redoute changed its name to Kering in 2013 and still owns Gucci among other luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. Since 2015, Marco Bizzarri has been serving as the CEO and president of Gucci. Likewise, Alessandro Michelle is the current creative director of the fashion company.

The Gucci family feud that heralded their exodus from the company began with a bitter battle for ownership

Guccio Gucci
Guccio Gucci

The origin of Gucci can be traced to a store selling imported leather goods, that was founded in Florence, Tuscany by Guccio Gucci in 1921. After he passed away, the company shares were divided among his three sons, Aldo, Rodolfo, and Vasco. In the 1950s and 60s, they expanded the company’s reach by opening stores in London, Paris, and New York.

Following the deaths of Rodolfo and Vasco, a family feud over the ownership of Gucci became apparent. Maurizio Gucci, who was the son of Rodolfo, inherited his father’s shares and later contended with his uncle, Aldo, for major control of the company.

According to The Sun, the 1980s were marked by Aldo and Maurizio’s embroilment in a legal battle over who should be the Chairperson of Gucci. Eventually, the position went to Maurizio. In 1988, owing to the downward trajectory of the company’s finance, Maurizio sold almost 50 percent of Gucci to Investcorp, a Bahrain-based investment bank.

However, the financial situation deteriorated further under Maurizio’s reign and by 1993, Investcorp bought the remaining half of Gucci for a reported value of 170 million dollars. The New York Times reports that Maurizio Gucci and Investcorp had reached a “friendly and amicable solution”. Hence, the Gucci family’s involvement in the company they founded came to an end.

Two years later, another tragedy fell upon the family with the murder of Maurizio Gucci. According to CBS News, his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani and her accomplices were found guilty of murder and convicted on murder charges.

Reggiani, who was accused of instigating the murder of Maurizio for his fortune, maintained her innocence despite the others involved in the crime confessing to it. She had told the court;

“I have been naive to the point of stupidity. I found myself involved against my will. I deny categorically that I was an accomplice.”

Even upon her verdict, she proclaimed that the “truth is the child of time” and believed that her innocence is yet to be proven.

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