Eyewear company EssilorLuxottica has announced several significant changes in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The company has decided to suspend its dividend and delay its annual shareholder meeting. In addition, Laurent Vacherot, the CEO of Essilor, will be retiring. These measures come as companies face pressure from unions and governments to prioritize saving cash in order to weather the crisis, especially those companies seeking state aid.

EssilorLuxottica had already withdrawn its financial guidance and warned of a decline in second-quarter profit due to the outbreak. As part of its response to the crisis, the company has halted production at selected sites and put certain investments on hold. This is a challenging time for businesses across various sectors, and it is crucial for companies to make strategic decisions in order to survive and thrive in the future.

EssilorLuxottica was formed in 2018 through a merger between Essilor, a French lens manufacturer, and Luxottica, an Italian spectacles maker. The merger had its fair share of challenges from the beginning, with disputes arising over leadership positions. Luxottica’s founder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, who had the largest stake in the newly formed company, initiated an arbitration process last year. However, this process was ultimately abandoned, and it was agreed that a new CEO would be appointed by the end of 2020.

Paul du Saillant, who previously served as Deputy CEO, will now take on the role of Essilor CEO and become a director on the company’s board. Du Saillant’s main responsibility will be to continue the integration of Essilor and Luxottica in collaboration with Francesco Milleri, the CEO of Luxottica. This integration will be overseen by Del Vecchio as the Executive Chairman and Hubert Sagnieres as the Executive Vice Chairman.

EssilorLuxottica owns several popular eyewear brands, including Oliver Peoples and Oakley. The company’s annual meeting, which was originally scheduled for May 15, will now take place on June 25 without public attendance, in accordance with the current lockdown measures. This mirrors the actions of other companies that have postponed their annual general meetings due to the pandemic.

Earlier this month, EssilorLuxottica proposed a dividend of 2.23 euros ($2.46) per share. However, the company has stated that it will reconsider this decision based on the changing circumstances. The company may choose to confirm, reduce, or cancel dividends in the future.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose significant challenges, it remains to be seen how EssilorLuxottica and other companies will navigate these uncertainties and make strategic decisions to ensure their future stability.

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1. EssilorLuxottica
2. Luxottica