One of the Italian eyewear industry's major success stories, Italia Independent, has just lost a managing director, co-founder and member of the board, Giovanni Accongiagioco. After spending four years as brand promotion manager of Fiat, he joined Lapo Elkann, brother of Fiat's current president, John Elkann, for the launch of Italia Independent at the start of 2007. Another co-founder of the company is its present chief executive, Andrea Tessitore.

After starting up with a provocative pair of glasses retailing at €1,007, the top management trio took the new company up to annual revenues of almost €40 million, floating it on the Milan stock exchange after several years of strong double-digit growth. Accongiagioco was one of the major players in the development of a company that has its sights set on becoming one of the four or five top eyewear producers in Italy.

The reasons for Accongiagioco's departure have not been revealed. An official of Italia Independent says that he will keep his minority stake in the company. Elkann recently raised his own stake to a controlling interest, owning more than 1.1 million shares, after a relative softening of the growth in the company's sales and its rising share price. Accongiagioco still has 72,157 shares in the company, but their value has declined by 37 percent in the last few months, down to around €18 per share.

A press release issued by Italia Independent mentions a “mutual decision” with Accongiagioco to leave, with no reference to any disagreement with Elkann or Tessitore. They thank their former partner and colleague for his contribution to the company's success and express their best wishes for his new professional challenges.