Essilor Names New CEO in Reorganization Aimed at Speeding Integration With Luxottica

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       Paul du Saillant
CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor (Reuters: ESLX.PA) announced that it has appointed Paul du Saillant as CEO, effective immediately. The move is part of a reorganization aimed at speeding up Essilor's integration with Luxottica “in order to build a more resilient, flexible and agile combined organization,” the company said in a statement. Du Saillant, who has served as deputy CEO of Essilor since 2019 and before that COO, takes over from Laurent Vacherot, who has decided not to lead this new phase in the company’s future and will retire, Essilor said.

The board of directors of EssilorLuxottica (Reuters: ESLX.PA), which met today, announced that du Saillant is replacing Vacherot as a new director of the company. Effective immediately, du Saillant will take over Vacherot’s responsibilities, including the role of CEO for Essilor International and the co-executive delegate powers previously granted to Vacherot on May 13, 2019 by Leonardo Del Vecchio, executive chairman and Hubert Sagnieres, executive vice chairman. In this capacity, he will work directly with Francesco Milleri, deputy chairman and CEO of Luxottica Group, to develop and implement the EssilorLuxottica strategy and integration process, according to the board’s announcement.

“I’m fully confident in Paul’s ability to write a successful new page in the integration of Essilor and Luxottica, together with a renewed team of energized young executives. I would like to warmly thank Laurent for leading our company in several key roles over the past 28 years. He leaves it in very good shape financially, with a strong mission and a solid operational foundation on which to build for the future”, commented Hubert Sagnieres, chairman of Essilor.


“I’m honored to be asked to lead Essilor in its next development phase. As I assume my new responsibilities, I think first about our employees whose dedication and commitment in these difficult times need to be praised. Together with them and a rejuvenated management team, we can make Essilor even more agile, reactive and resilient. This is necessary to rebound faster when the recovery comes, fulfill our mission of improving lives by improving sight and further our integration with Luxottica. Together, we will make EssilorLuxottica stronger,” said du Saillant.

Du Saillant has named a single combined management committee in order to optimize the integration process. It is composed of Chrystel Barranger, Ernesto Diaz, Paul du Saillant, Rick Gadd, Norbert Gorny, Eric Leonard, Grita Loebsack, Frederic Mathieu, Bernhard Nuesser, Arnaud Ribadeau Dumas, Eric Thoreux and David Wielemans.

According to the statement, “This younger and more focused executive team brings together ample experience of the combination with Luxottica in many key areas and illustrates the rich talent pool of Essilor. They will lead Essilor, driven by its historic human values, at the core of which lie diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and employee shareholding. They will continue to leverage and expand the power of Essilor’s mission to improve lives by improving sight with the full knowledge that companies with a strong mission better weather market volatility, mobilize talents faster and come out stronger as a result.”

In a parallel move, the board of directors of Essilor SAS is being streamlined to five members from the previous 15, with a view to simplify decision processes and reduce the overlap with the EssilorLuxottica board of directors, Essilor said.

Du Saillant served as deputy CEO of Essilor since 2019 and as COO from 2010 to 2019. He joined the group in 2008 as director of strategy. Prior to this, he was COO of Lhoist Group and senior executive vice president of Air Liquide. He holds a degree from Ecole Centrale de Paris.