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Missoni will overcome missing exec, analysts say

– Missoni SpA, the Italian fashion company known for its zig-zag knitwear, is regarded by analysts as having strong management and a niche positioning that will help it carry on should the worst be confirmed about scion Vittorio Missoni, whose plane disappeared last week.

More than 385 people are involved in the search for the plane, which hasn’t been heard from since it went missing Friday near Venezuela, the country’s government said. The plane was carrying Missoni, 58, head of marketing, his partner and four others.

“As tragic and unfortunate as this is, Missoni will find a way to appoint a new head, while operations should go on largely on a business-as-usual manner” should Vittorio not be found alive, said Luca Solca, head of luxury-goods research at Exane BNP Paribas. “Missoni’s brand image is huge, but its size is small, which should make it feasible to manage a transition.”

Founded in the 1950s by Vittorio’s parents, Missoni is run by Vittorio, his brother Luca and their sister Angela. Alberto Piantoni was appointed CEO in 2011.

Missoni’s 2011 collaboration with Target Corp. won headlines when the website of the second-largest U.S. discount retailer failed to function because of higher-than-expected demand for the brand’s maxi dresses and home furnishings at a fraction of their typical cost.

Vittorio, having led Missoni’s expansion and diversification into hotels, is an elder statesman of the family. Yet, the company has brought in top managers, and the third generation of Missonis is already working in the business.

“Even in the worst-case scenario, the company will go on,” said Armando Branchini, founder of Milan-based luxury consultant Intercorporate. “There is no doubt about this.”

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