MILAN — Renzo Rosso’s already busy schedule is getting even crazier.
The Italian entrepreneur, founder and president of the OTB fashion group, has been chosen by Confindustria’s president, Carlo Bonomi, to be the association’s delegate focused on promoting the excellence, beauty and taste of Italian brands in the world. Confindustria is Italy’s largest association representing 150,000 domestic manufacturing and service companies.
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“The Italian industrial sector is known in the world for its excellence in terms of design, attention to details, as well as quality of both materials and manufacturing processes. This image boosts the love for Italy and makes it highly attractive,” said Bonomi. “I’m happy to be able to count on the energy and the pragmatic approach of Renzo Rosso, who, thanks to the international success of his entrepreneurial experience, will be a valuable ambassador of the Italian brands and will give a significant contribution to the strategic and urgent decisions that we have to take to relaunch our economy, in Europe and in the world.”
In his new role, Rosso, who established the Diesel brand in 1978, will use his over 40 years of experience to service the Made in Italy industry. Rosso’s has also had a leadership position within Italy’s Camera della Moda, where its associates selected him to be their representative in front of the institutions.
“My only issue is time,” said Renzo. “But now that we have both a CEO and a creative director for Diesel, I can focus more on putting to use my wide experience of this business that I matured across the different markets and working with an array of labels. I’m ready to work with institutions to bring my own contribution and point of view to the table.”
Rosso participated in the first meeting at Confindustria in Rome on Wednesday. “It’s a very different world compared to the one I belong to. I’m an entrepreneur, my style is concise and very pragmatic. That one is a world speaking a different language, more political and formal,” he said. “I have to learn how to connect with them in order to achieve concrete results for the industry I represent.”
Rosso said that his first goal is to get a complete, detailed understanding of the needs of the companies and entrepreneurs that he represents. “I want to meet them, listen to them. This is probably going to be the most delicate phase,” he said. “Of course, I have a clear vision of the Made in Italy and the supply chain but I want to listen to everyone’s opinion. Then I’ll combine the different instances and I’ll elaborate a strategic plan.”
Even if he still has to define his roadmap, Rosso, who has always lamented how the Italian government and the institutions never took seriously enough the requests coming from the fashion industry, which is the country’s second largest sector in terms of both revenues and numbers of employees, is fully aware that one of the main goals of his mandate will be supporting and enhancing the Made in Italy supply chain.
“We have to take into account that 80 percent of the world’s luxury items are produced in Italy,” said the entrepreneur, who highlighted that for the survival and further expansion of the Italian manufacturing sector, it is crucial to promote the creation of industrial poles that can have a much better bargaining power compared to individual, small companies.
Rosso also placed focus on the importance of promoting sustainability within the industry through concrete efforts and efficient business strategies. “Too many talk about sustainability, which is a very complicated and wide issue, without knowing exactly what to do,” he said. “As an entrepreneur with my own company I look at sustainability as a goal to achieve through a radical shift in the company’s culture. We are investing a lot in the education of our talents to make the difference also on this front.”
Rosso’s OTB controls the Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and Jil Sander brands, along with industrial platform and brand incubator Staff International and children’s wear manufacturing and distribution company Brave Kid. OTB also has a minority stake in Los Angeles-based luxury brand Amiri.