Dezeen Magazine

Giorgio Busnelli leaves B&B Italia

End of an era as Giorgio Busnelli leaves B&B Italia

Giorgio Busnelli is to step down as chairman of B&B Italia and leave the business, ending his family's link to the luxury furniture brand his father founded over 60 years ago.

Busnelli, 67, has been replaced by a new senior management team consisting of Gilberto Negrini, who was previously CEO of Italian furniture brand Kartell, and Gabriele del Torchio, CEO and president of parent group Design Holding.

Negrini will become CEO of B&B Italia and its Maxalto, Arclinea and Azucena brands, while Del Torchio will become chairman.

Busnelli decided to retire

The shakeup, described as a part of a "management development process," was announced today by Design Holding, the group formed last year when B&B Italia came together with Italian lighting brand Flos and Danish lighting firm Louis Poulson.

"The appointment of the new CEO is part of Design Holding and its subsidiaries' management development process, aimed at identifying high standing profiles capable of supporting and accelerating the growth of the new leading group in high-end design," Design Holding said.

"Giorgio left the company because he decided to retire," a spokesperson for the brand told Dezeen.

Busnelli led B&B Italia for decades

Busnelli is the son of Piero Ambrosio Busnelli, who founded the brand as C&B Italia in 1966. It changed its name to B&B Italia in 1972 following the departure of his business partner Cesare Cassina. Busnelli senior died in 2014 aged 87.

"Giorgio Busnelli leaves the post of chairman of B&B Italia and vice chairman of Design Holding, after having led B&B Italia for decades with passion and competence, inherited from the unforgettable father Piero Ambrogio, founder of the company," Design Holding said in a statement. "The boards and the stakeholders of both offer their most heartfelt thanks.

Busnelli's move follows the departure of Flos CEO Piero Gandini in May this year, which ended the Gandini family's involvement in the lighting brand after almost 70 years.

The departure was due to "different strategic and management views" between Gandini and Design Holding.

Like Busnelli, Gandini is the son of the brand's founder. Flos was founded in 1962 by Sergio Gandini, with the younger Gandini taking over on his father's death in 1999.

"New phase of development for B&B Italia"

Design Holding is backed by private equity firms Investindustrial and The Carlyle Group.

Welcoming Negrini to B&B Italia, del Torchio said: “Gilberto's experience, expertise and deep knowledge will ensure an essential contribution and a new phase of development for B&B Italia. In the first months of Design Holding's life, we introduced all activities aimed at creating a group identity, defining a global strategy and enhancing synergies."

"At the same time, in agreement with all shareholders and entrepreneurs, we have started strengthening the managerial structures of the companies."

"Our aim is to identify the best management which, we are sure, will be able to guide the further development, respecting the identity of each company, but within a strong new global vision."