French Mediator Appointed in EssilorLuxottica Feud

By

CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—An outside mediator has been appointed by a French court in an attempt to resolve the bitter feud between Essilor and Luxottica over governance of their newly merged mega-company, EssilorLuxottica. On Friday, the Paris Commercial Court appointed its former president, Frank Gentin, as an outside mediator, an Essilor spokesperson confirmed to VMAIL. The move follows Essilor’s request to the Court on Thursday to bring in an outside mediator, known as a "mandataire ad hoc," to try to resolve the six-week old dispute, which has escalated into a crisis that is threatening the merger.


Gentin, who led the Commerce Court between 2012 and 2016, is a skilled mediator who has resolved numerous disputes between large companies, including a shareholder war between French luxury rivals LVMH and Hermes which ended in 2014. To break the deadlock between Essilor and Luxottica over the number of independent directors that represent each company on the EssilorLuxottica board of directors, Gentin could appoint an arbitrator.

A Luxottica spokesperson declined to comment on Gentin’s appointment. However, the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 reported on Friday that the move is supported by Delfin, the Luxottica holding company that is EssilorLuxottica’s main shareholder and which filed an arbitration request in March with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.