Fila CEO resigns, is leaving industry

Isaia is successor as Scannavini exits

Sparks keeps focus

February 09, 2002|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Fila Holding S.p.A., the Italian athletic footwear and apparel designer with its U.S. subsidiary based in Sparks, said yesterday that its chief executive officer, Michele Scannavini, resigned.

The resignation, accepted by Fila Holding's board of directors yesterday and effective immediately, comes as Fila Holding's parent company is trying to sell its interest in Fila.

"Mr. Scannavini is leaving to pursue a new professional challenge in a different industry," Fila Holding said in a statement.

The company - the sponsor of tennis star Jennifer Capriati - offered no details of the resignation. A spokeswoman at the Biella, Italy, headquarters could not be reached yesterday.

Scannavini will be replaced as CEO by Marco Isaia, Fila's group chief operating officer since January 1998, Fila said in its statement.

Officials at Fila U.S.A. Inc. said they did not yet know if the change at the top would have any effect on the subsidiary.

"It's business as usual," said Mark Westerman, vice president of marketing and communications. "We're moving ahead aggressively with the business plan for Fila U.S.A."

Fila Holding's parent and majority shareholder, Holding di Partecipazioni S.p.A., told Fila's board in June that it would sell its interest in Fila, with the help of two investment banks, to focus more on the media and publishing industries.

HdP has confirmed that it is in final stages of talks to sell Fila Holding to U.S. equity fund Continental Partners, according to the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Analysts have said that, because Fila has struggled financially as it tries to complete a turnaround, potential buyers would likely be either an equity fund or other investors rather than a competitor such as Reebok or Nike.

Fila has posted losses for the past three fiscal years as it has struggled to recover from a steep slide in U.S. sales.

Fila reported a net loss of $31.8 million, or 6 cents per American depository share, in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Scannavini had blamed the loss on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and an economic downturn in the United States and South America, markets where Fila had expected improvements in the second half of last year.

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