16 Aug 2022
The chairman of the board of luxury group Richemont, Johann Rupert, has written to shareholders ahead of its annual general meeting on September 7 to urge them not to allow the former chief executive of Bulgari, Francesco Trapani, to be elected to the Richemont board, writes Leatherbiz.
Investment group Bluebell has said it wants to use its shareholding in Richemont to have Mr Trapani elected to the board to represent the interests of holders of ‘A’ shares.
In his letter, Mr Rupert acknowledged that Bluebell is entitled under Swiss law to seek this election, but he said: “Richemont’s board has never sought to elect one specific director to represent the holders of its ‘A’ shares because it considers that directors must act in the interest of all shareholders and not only of one class of them.”
He went on to say that if there has to be a representative of ‘A’ shares on the board, current directors would prefer this representative to be someone else. They have proposed an alternative candidate, Wendy Luhabe, who has extensive boardroom experience in Europe and South Africa.
“Mr Trapani is not independent,” Johann Rupert said. “He has a long history of close relationship with the LVMH group and its main shareholder. He was the CEO of Bulgari when it agreed to be acquired by LVMH in 2011. He then served as CEO of LVMH’s watches and jewellery division from 2011 to 2014, was on LVMH’s board from 2011 to 2016 and an advisor to LVMH’s CEO from 2014 through 2016. Mr Trapani resigned from Tiffany’s board in November 2019, the day after the merger agreement was executed with LVMH. LVMH is one of our company’s key competitors.”