Gaston Bottazzini Resigns as CEO of Chilean Retail Giant Falabella

The CEO will step down on January 1 after five years in the role, and following months of poor financial results

Gaston Bottazzini during a panel discussion.
September 05, 2023 | 04:19 PM

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Santiago — After months of poor financial results for Chilean retail giant Falabella, CEO Gaston Bottazzini resigned from the company’s board of directors on Tuesday.

“In all these years we have undertaken many initiatives, we have had successes, and we have made mistakes, both have contributed to a process in which we have grown a lot as an organization,” the executive said in a statement.

The resignation of Bottazzini, who had been in the position for five years, will be effective January 1, 2024.

His decision was announced almost five months after Carlo Solari stepped down as chairman of Falabella’s board of directors and Enrique Ostalé took his place.

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Bottazzini is stepping down as CEO after more than 15 years in various business and executive positions within Falabella. “I am confident that over the next few years we will reap all the rewards of the efforts made during the company’s challenging digitization process,” he said.

During his tenure, he has stood out for being a proponent of the digital and cultural transformation that laid the groundwork for building the company’s physical-digital ecosystem. But, previously, he served as general manager of Falabella Financiero for a decade, consolidating the positioning of Banco Falabella Chile, and driving regionalization through the launch of Banco Falabella in Colombia and the entry of its card into Mexico.

The chairman of the board of Falabella S.A., Enrique Ostalé, thanked Bottazzini for his contribution.

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“We highlight his commitment and leadership. We will continue to count on his vast experience, strategic business vision, and analytical skills during the succession process,” Ostalé said.

A challenging second half

In the run-up to Bottazzini’s exit from the company, Falabella had reported another period of adverse results during the second quarter of 2023. The company posted a turnover of $3.35 billion, or 12,5% less than in the same period of 2022, affected by a sharp contraction in consumption in Chile, its main market.

Ebitda, meanwhile, was $176 million, a drop of 42% year-on-year. Net income for the second quarter was $61 million.

At the time, Bottazzini had highlighted that between April and June the execution of the efficiency plan launched 10 months ago had been completed. “This has allowed us to reduce consolidated expenses by 8% during the period, 15% in real terms, mainly explained by the reduction of expenses in logistics, optimization of marketing and loyalty activities, integration of functions, among others. However, the environment has been more challenging than anticipated, so we have intensified our efforts to recover our profitability, adding new initiatives to the plan,” he said in a statement.

Who are Falabella’s main shareholders?

According to information compiled by Bloomberg News, Falabella’s largest individual shareholders include Lucec Tres SA (10.67%), owned by María Cecilia Karlezi Solari, one of the wealthiest women in Chile; Inversiones San Vitto LTD (9.71%); Bethia SA (8.98%); Inversiones Los Olivos SA (7.83%); Inversiones Don Alberto Cuatro (6.02%); Banco de Chile (5.68%); State Street Corp (5.56%) and Dersa SA (5.44%).