Billionaire Italian Boss Gifts $10 Million to His Employees For His Birthday

Leonardo Del Vecchio — no, he’s not a Renaissance painter or sculptor — welcome to the Awesome Boss Club.

In celebration of Del Vecchio’s 80th birthday on May 22, the founder-owner of Luxottica, the largest eyewear company in the world, will be gifting 140,000 shares of Luxottica stock to the company’s 8,000 employees in Italy, reports Quartz.

The lavish gift is worth 9 million euros ($10 million) and is being presented to the company’s employees as a sign of appreciation, according to a company press release. When divided out equally, each employee would receive $1,250 worth of stock.

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Del Vecchio, who has a net worth of $23.2 billion, said in the statement:

“A sincere thank you to the Group’s employees in Italy, those at the heart of Luxottica’s success. With this small gesture, I would like to show how important the employees are to me: I truly feel as if we are family.”

Del Vecchio previously gifted employees 7 million euros ($7.7 million) in shares in 2011 upon the company’s 50th anniversary.

According to Quartz, the gesture by Del Vecchio is part of a tradition amongst Italian heads of business keeping their employees feeling happy and appreciated. Michele Ferrero, the owner of the company that manufactures Nutella, was proud of the fact that his workers never once went on strike, and Adriano Olivetti, founder of his namesake typewriter company, granted employees nine months of maternity leave in the 1950s.
Other recent inductees into the Awesome Boss Club include Vice CEO Shane Smith, who handed out $1 million in cash to employees as “stocking stuffers;” Wi Fi Key Master founder Chen Danian, who gave out Teslas as year-end bonuses; and Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who took a massive pay cut in order to increase the minimum salary for all of his company’s employees to the magic $70,000 mark.

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