for half a century, the Italian Benetton family has preached through compassion is advertising for her eponymous clothing line that include pictures of a dying AIDS patient, a black woman breast-feeding a white baby and, more recently, African immigrants rescued at sea.
But now the Benetton are the center of public outrage after at least 43 people were killed when the bridge Morandi of Genoa collapsed on Tuesday, threatening part of the other more profitable family business operating airports, motorways and dinner from Santiago to Rome.
The main members of the new Government of populist coalition of Italy have begun the process of lucrative license revocation of toll on power of Atlantia SpA, the company controlled by the family who operated the bridge, and want your boss to be dismissed. The threats triggered a wave of sales which, in its depth, eliminated 6,000 million euros (6,800 million) of the market value of Atlantia and prompted a backlash in social networks, where dozens of publications accuse the Benetton of profits above safety.
The Benetton not commented until Thursday, when they issued a statement through the holding company Edizione Srl. expressing «deep sympathy» for the victims of the disaster and vowing to work with authorities to determine the cause, as it emphasizes that Atlantia and its subsidiary Autostrade have invested more than 10 billion euros on the roads of Italy over the last decade.
The Managing Director of Atlantia, Giovanni Castellucci, financing plan followed Saturday with the promise of rebuilding the bridge in eight months and provide initial EUR 500 million to alleviate the suffering of the victims, not including possible payments of direct compensation. That is about half of what the company returned to Benetton and other shareholders last year.
For Enrico Valdani, Professor of marketing at the Bocconi University in Milan, shares may not be sufficient to alleviate the tensions with the Government or regain the trust of the population, as in the United Colors of Benetton initially refused to assume the responsibility of a cavern. in a factory of garments from Bangladesh, purchased t-shirts, which killed more than 1,100 in 2013.
«They made a mistake not to immediately clarify his alleged role in the fatal collapse of the bridge,» said Valdani by telephone. «What the family now needed urgently is a direct communication and crisis management plan. They have to show that the company acted in good faith or admit any possible error «.»
A statement of the Benetton Saturday, a day of mourning, said his thoughts were with the loved ones of the deceased. At the same time, the President Fabio Cerchiai said he hoped personally Castellucci, of 59 years, to remain in the post, and added that the CEO has the backing Board and investors.
Representatives met with executives and lawyers on Friday to prepare the package of initial funding, and meetings will be held in Rome this week to discuss the causes of the tragedy, according to people familiar with the situation.
Force Global held long ago in his hometown of Treviso, a city in the northeast of 85,000 inhabitants, by his story of rags to riches, Benetton suffered the loss of the youngest of four brothers who founded the clothing company in 1965, Carlo who died of cancer. 74. Survived by Luciano, 83, Giuliana, 81, and Gilberto, 77, all of which are still active managers of the various investments of the family.
Luciano founded the company selling sweaters from a small store in Treviso who wove his sister Giuliana. In two decades, descendants of an owner of a bicycle shop had become a global force in fashion, by its vibrant clothing and provocative ads which occasionally irritated the Catholic Church alike. The Vatican once took legal action to stop a campaign that featured a photo of adulterated the Pope kissing a Muslim leader.
Gilberto, who handles the finances of the clan, began to diversify in the 1990s, shopping in a wave of privatizations which produced most of his current fortune. The family now owns some 12 billion euros in assets, including a 30 per cent stake in Atlantia, which this year became the world’s largest operator of highways with the acquisition of Spanish rival Abertis.
The strategy proved to be prudent. Their clothing chain struggled to compete with new companies such as Inditex SA Zara brand and lost 180 million euros last year. In 2015, the family sold its stake in another major retailer, World Duty Free SpA, Dufry AG, with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.
Last year, the brothers hired the former Chief Executive of Telecom Italy SpA, Marco Patuano, to renew their investments, reduce their dependence on the loose in Italy economy and seek a more global strategy.