Maurice Léonard, the 53-year-old entrepreneur who founded the company in Luxembourg in 1995, has opened its capital to two new investors and boosted its management to speed up its development in the core luxury segment and in new markets. Following a capital increase, whose details have been kept confidential, Léonard and a former manager of the company retain majority control in the company, called Wood Optic Diffusion.
One of the investors is Marc Cardinael, who has joined the company to fill the new position of chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Léonard, who was handling these tasks as well, will remain chief executive, taking care mainly of product development and sales. Cardinael, 50, is an engineer who has accumulated a lot of experience in the automotive sector.
With an annual turnover of more than €5 million, Wood Optic has become a reference in the “magic of noble materials,” as Léonard puts it, using wood, buffalo horn, gold, diamonds and other precious stones and metals to put together premium eyewear styles, several of which won Silmo d'Or awards in the past years.
Wood Optic's shareholders have decided to concentrate on the award-winning Gold & Wood brand, distributed in more than 40 countries, which has been renamed as Gold & Wood Eyepieces to stress the values of craftsmanship and precision.
The company is negotiating the renewal of its Boucheron license with Roberto Vedovotto, the former chief executive of Safilo, who is now working on licensing in the eyewear sector for Boucheron's parent company, Kering.
The U.S. remains the biggest market for Gold & Wood, with a sales subsidiary in Miami that is also responsible for Mexico. The company entered Turkey and the Middle East last year, and it has now signed a distribution deal in Brazil with Fenicia, which already handles Logo's Tag Heuer collection in the country. Gold & Wood is discussing the possible takeover of the distribution in China.
A company in Luxembourg, Tenzing, advised Wood Optic in the expansion of its shareholder base.