United Colors of Benetton co-founder dies

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Benetton founder

Gilberto Benetton, a co-founder of fashion retail chain United Colors of Benetton, has died at the age of 77.

With his brothers Luciano and Carlo and sister Giuliana, Gilberto founded United Colors of Benetton in a small town in north east Italy in 1965.

The retailer’s rise to global fame in the 1980s and 1990s was attributed to its brightly colored jumpers and provocative advertising campaigns.

Gilberto was mastermind behind the diversification of the family business into a fashion retail empire as well as expanding into new sectors such as construction, transport and catering, and making the Benettons one of the wealthiest families in Italy.

In recent years, United Colors of Benetton faced headwinds as demand for its products fell and a few of its ad campaigns, such as one that alluded to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, were met with controversy.

Gilberto’s death this week comes after he battled a short illness.

He was the former head of the family holding company, Edizione, which controls Italy’s biggest infrastructure group Atlantia.

His brother Carlo died earlier this year.

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