Safilo names Francesco Rinaldi Ceroni president of North America
Francesco Rinaldi Ceroni, who joined Italian eyewear group Safilo in 2020, is now set to take charge of the group’s main market, North America, accounting for nearly half of total revenue. Rinaldi Ceroni is extremely experienced in the eyewear sector and is very knowledgeable about the American market, where he has worked for over 15 years.
Rinaldi Ceroni was born in Bologna, where he graduated in Business Administration, and started his career as a consultant. Three years later, in 2004, he moved to the U.S., first to Boston, where he studied for an MBA, and then to New York, working for Italian eyewear giant Luxottica, where he spent most of his career.
Over the course of eight years, Ceroni built up the management team in charge of the wholesale channel in North America, first as head of financial planning and control, then as head of business development and sales planning. In 2014, he returned to Italy, where he took charge of the franchising division at Sunglass Hut, Luxottica’s retail chain specialised in sunglasses, broadening his international experience by overseeing India, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America. In 2018, he moved back to the U.S., in Florida, to spearhead the international expansion of Costa Del Mar, a sunglasses brand owned by the EssilorLuxottica group.
In the midst of the pandemic, in June 2020, Ceroni joined Safilo to head Smith Optics, a long-established U.S. sport eyewear brand. He will continue to lead Smith Optics, whose operational running has been entrusted to Mark Phares, global head of wholesale, now named managing director of the brand. On June 1, Ceroni will succeed Steve Wright, who is retiring as president and CCO of Safilo’s North America region, as the Italian group, which is controlled by Dutch investment fund Hal, has indicated in a press release.
“Francesco has driven the implementation of key transformational projects for the Smith division over the past two years, fully embracing the digital acceleration and innovative responsibility that sets Safilo Group apart in the marketplace,” said Safilo’s CEO Angelo Tricchia, underlining that “North America has a central role in Safilo’s strategy and business growth.”
In 2021, Safilo’s sales in the North America region were worth €466.2 million, equivalent to 48% of Safilo’s total revenue. Revenues grew by 40.5% in absolute terms, compared to 2020 (organic growth was 43.6%), and by 47% compared to 2019 (organic growth was 15.9%), notably thanks to the acquisitions of Blenders and Privé Revaux in the U.S.
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