Claudio Luti

Salone del Mobile president Claudio Luti resigns after boardroom shakeup

News: Claudio Luti has resigned as president of Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile after less than two years in the role, following a shakeup of the furniture fair's ownership structure.

Luti, who is also CEO of Italian furniture brand Kartell, stepped down as president of both the annual furniture fair and its organising body Cosmit (Comitato Organizzatore del Salone del Mobile Italiano).

The move follows news that Federlegno Arredo, an association of Italian furniture producers that owns Cosmit, had taken full control of the subsidiary as part of a boardroom restructuring and appointed its own president, Roberto Snaidero, as chairman of the furniture fair.

Federlegno Arredo have given Snaidero full powers over all aspects of the fair's operations, effectively forcing Luti aside.

"Hereby we inform you that with a press release issued yesterday afternoon it was announced that Federlegno Arredo s.r.l. acquired Cosmit S.p.A. through merger by incorporation," said Luti's office in a short statement.

"This operation thus gave birth to the new company Federlegno Arredo Eventi S.p.A which takes full control over the company that organises Salone del Mobile in Milan.

"In this context, therefore, Mr. Claudio Luti has resigned as President of Cosmit/Salone del Mobile because there are no more requirements to cover this role."

salone-milan Alessandro Russotti dezeen
Salone del Mobile takes place in Milan every April. Photograph by Alessandro Russotti

Luti, who has turned Kartell into one of Italy's most successful design-led brands and overseen an ambitious programme of store openings in China, was appointed president of the furniture fair at the end of 2012.

Last year he embarked on a series of initiatives aimed at improving the experience of visitors to the annual April fair and updating the image of Cosmit.

In an interview with Dezeen last May he accepted that Milan's often chaotic and overpriced infrastructure damaged the city: "We have to make it easier for people to not lose time, to get where they want to be," he said. "If things don't work in the right way, they damage Milan, they damage our future."

However, it is understood that some of Luti's initiatives met with resistance, with hotel owners refusing to discuss lowering their prices during the fair and plans to overhaul the Salone del Mobile brand failing to materialise.

Members of Federlegno Arredo have been involved in the organisation of the furniture fair since the first one was held in 1961, with the trade body taking full control of Cosmit in 2008. The two organisations share offices in Foro Bonaparte in the centre of Milan.

Besides the Salone in Milan - the world's biggest and most important furniture fair - Cosmit organises the Eurocucina kitchen fair and the Euroluce lighting fair, as well as a number of other trade shows in Italy and abroad.

A press release issued by Federlegno Arredo announced that it had merged with Cosmit "in the interest of greater efficiency and continuous improvement of the organization", with the new body now named Federlegno Arredo Eventi Spa.

The newly appointed board has given Snaidero powers to "preside over the organization of the Salone del Mobile and the collateral events associated therewith, oversee matters of communication and relations with the media, private and public entities and institutions, both Italian and foreign, with the right to use the title 'President of the Salone del Mobile'."

“I am grateful to my colleagues for the faith they have placed in me," Snaidero said. "Faith that will be justified through actions aimed at improving and expanding the premier trade events in our field, and with them, the businesses they represent”.

In one of his first official engagements Snaidero will chair a press conference in London on 20 November, where he will announce plans for next year's furniture fair.