Marcello Bottoli

Leadership lessons from Louis Vuitton, Samsonite and now, EVCP Growth Equity – Ep. 61



SUMMARY

Marcello Botolli is the co-founder and Managing Partner of EVCP Growth Equity. EVCP is a boutique private equity firm dedicated to investing in promising consumer lifestyle brands.

“We see ourselves and we see what we do as a catalyst to provide exceptional entrepreneurs, with great ideas and companies, the environment and the support to thrive.” — Marcello Bottoli  [0:41:10]

When you look into Marcello’s career and success, it is clear that his experience would be an incredible asset to any management team seeking growth capital. Marcello has led remarkable brands including his position as Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, his restructuring and turnaround of the great American brand, Samsonite, and his directorship positions with other internationally recognized names.

You are going to hear about how Marcello ascended to the top leadership roles of some of the world’s most iconic brands, how he managed and lead through some of the world’s most difficult times including September 11th and the 2008 financial crisis. Given the turmoil in our current economies, his experience and advice couldn’t be more timely.

“Whatever you do, both in business, running a company, or being an investor, discipline is so important. Never get too greedy, never test your luck too much. When you’ve got to where you want or exceeded it, just stick to your plan and move on.” — Marcello Bottoli  [0:29:18]

We also talk about his fund, EVCP and his mandate that he and his partners can invest on simple terms and be allowed in to pull up their sleeves and actually help build remarkable companies alongside the entrepreneurs and managers they invest in. 

I’d also like to say thank you to JD David at MJ Hudson for making this interview possible.

Disclaimer: This podcast provides examples of how EVCP partners up with entrepreneurs in the consumer goods industry. This podcast does not discuss all investments made by EVCP and its principals in the past.  It is also not an offer to sell or the solicitation to buy any interest or shares in any investment fund managed by EVCP or its affiliates. Any such offering will be made solely by means of a confidential private placement memorandum and only to qualified investors in a jurisdiction where permitted by law.

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Key Points From This Episode:

  • Marcello introduces himself and shares a bit about his professional background.
  • Advice for businesses during difficult times, from 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis – things will improve with time.
  • Marcello’s advice for investors – times of great hardship also offer great opportunities.
  • The dialogue Marcello had with his teams during crises focused on preparing for the future.
  • Marcello’s interest in brands is the emotional relationships between consumers and objects.
  • Reinventing the Samsonite brand when sales and active choice purchases were low.
  • Marcello explains the difference between investor and manager when reinventing a brand
  • The leadership process that Marcello followed at Samsonite, based on heritage of the brand.
  • Rules of thumb that Marcello worked with: generating top line growth, improving margins, and investing half in the bottom line.
  • How Marcello was able to gain momentum and motivate his team through perseverance.
  • Marcello tells a story of a mistake he made, and how he learned that discipline is crucial.
  • Environmental Social Governance and the important role it plays in luxury consumer goods.
  • The social responsibility of brands and how Marcello differentiates his companies by having a consistent commitment to a cause.
  • EVCP is a single-minded consumer lifestyle fund, working in the small and mid-cap arena.
  • EVCP looks for difference, investing in companies with a unique product or service offerings.
  • EVCP strives to provide great entrepreneurs with the environment and the support to thrive.
  • Not only does EVCP offer hands-on help, but they offer collaboration with entrepreneurs.
  • The main philosophy of EVCP is to do what is right for the companies they invest in.
  • What most attracts EVCP to a business is a point of difference, and their success depends on single-minded focus.
  • Marcello was impressed with Tony Ressler as a humble, focused character in private equity.
  • What’s next for EVCP and Marcello is new investments and opportunities during COVID-19.

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