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Retail appointments of the week

Reliance Industries’ chairperson naming daughter as head of retail unit

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is expected to name his daughter, Isha Ambani, as chairman of Reliance’s retail unit, according to Bloomberg.

Isha is currently a director of Reliance Retail, and has been tipped for the job by people with knowledge of the matter following the ascension of her brother, Akash Ambani, to the role of chairperson of Reliance Jio – the business’ telecom arm.

Isha also runs online fashion retailer, AJIO, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Retail.

According to the India Times, the move could be part of a succession plan for Mukesh Ambani, as he seeks to step back from the running of the Reliance business and secure his family’s involvement.

“Isha is very much in the driving seat in retail and continues to do so,” a long-term Reliance watcher told India Times on the condition of anonymity.

At an event in December, Mukesh Ambani said that the business is in the process of “effecting a momentous leadership transition”.

Despite this, it’s expected Mukesh will continue to be involved in the strategy of the businesses moving forward.

Bed Bath & Beyond drops executive talent, CEO

US-based homewares chain Bed Bath and Beyond has replaced chief executive Mark Tritton after the business net sales tumbled 25 per cent in its first quarter, sending shares down 13 per cent.

Tritton has temporarily been replaced by independent director and head of the business’ strategy committee Sue Gove, after major investor and billionaire Ryan Cohen criticised the CEO’s pay, and “overly ambitious” strategy, and failure to reverse its struggling fortunes.

“Mr. Tritton should recognize that chief executives who are awarded outsized compensation and seek frequent publicity also invite much higher expectations when it comes to growth and shareholder value creation,” Cohen said in March, according to Reuters.

The business also dropped chief merchandising officer Joe Hartsig, replacing him with general manager of Harmon health and beauty Mara Sirhal.

Vale: Leonardo del Vecchio, founder of Luxottica

Businessman Leonardo del Vecchio, who has died aged 87, created the glasses company that owns brands including Ray-Ban and used his billions to become one of the most influential figures in Italian finance. Del Vecchio rose from a childhood in an orphanage to amass a fortune of tens of billions of euros in one of the most famous rags-to-riches stories in Italy’s post-war economic recovery. At the end of 2021, he was Italy’s second richest man, behind only Giovanni Ferrero of the Nutella-making group, according to Forbes.

As is common in Italy, Del Vecchio, the chairman of spectacles maker EssilorLuxottica, did not retire quietly and, if anything, stepped up his business activities when he was in his 80s. In 2018, he sealed a major merger deal to combine the Luxottica company that he had founded in 1961 with France’s Essilor. In addition, his Delfin holding company is the largest shareholder in Italian financial services group Mediobanca and also has a sizeable stake in insurer Generali, placing him at the heart of the country’s boardroom intrigues.

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