May 27, 2024
Flos CEO Roberta Silva Resigns

MILAN — High-end lighting and lighting systems maker Flos said its chief executive officer Roberta Silva, who has been a key figure in fueling international growth, is stepping down. Silva was hired in 2019 following stints at Bose Corp. and Kraft Foods Italia. The reason for her departure was not revealed, nor were her future plans.

A press release sent Thursday by Flos parent company Design Holding said Design Holding’s CEO Daniel Lalonde will assume the position of interim CEO, and Matteo Luoni will take on the role of deputy CEO, maintaining his role as director of group strategy. 

In a significant move last year, the company appointed Barbara Corti chief creative officer. Corti was Flos’ chief marketing officer, hired in 2017. Corti’s role was brand new and strategically focused on content creation strategies through all the brand’s online and offline channels.

Silva’s role was significant in Italy where women in top roles are scarce. A report released by market regulator Consob in 2023 showed that companies with female CEOs accounted for just 2 percent of Italian listed firms at the end of 2022. Only 4 percent of those firms had female presidents. In an interview with WWD last year, Silva said she was fortunate to have worked with “open-minded” American companies that embraced female leadership — Lalonde, a Canadian, included.

“I lead one of the largest Italian design companies and at the beginning it was crazy. When I was elected and at the first meeting I was the only woman and they all looked at me strangely.…There aren’t many women in this world, I believe that number increases, this barrier will open up a bit,” she reflected.

In an unpredictable macro climate, lighting is among the segments expected to driving design sales this year, outperforming other categories versus kitchens and bathrooms, which require more complex planning.

Claudia D’Arpizio, a Bain & Co. partner and global head of fashion and luxury, told WWD that the luxury furniture sector, including bath and kitchens, was valued at between 46 billion and 48 billion euros in 2023, which could have been either a drop of 3 percent on the lower end or a 1 percent rise on the higher end.

Flos, which was founded in Merano, Italy, in 1962 boasts an extensive catalogue of iconic lamps created by legendary design names — Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Ron Gilad, Michael Anastassiades and Vincent Van Duysen among them.

Flos CEO Roberta Silva Resigns

Daniel Lalonde

Mattia Zoppellaro for Contrasto