Driving Force: Diego Della Valle

Diego Della Valle took over his family's shoe business in 1978 and with a moccasin steered it into luxury goods. Now he's acquiring new brands--even a soccer team--and he's on a whole new track

IT'S A GRAY OCTOBER DAY in Le Marche, the region of central Italy where about 90% of the country's shoes are made in nonescript industrial factories that dot the velvety, verdant landscape. The iffy weather and impending rain don't bother Diego Della Valle, 52. As the president and CEO of Tod's S.p.A., he's used to climbing into his silver twin-engine Dolphin helicopter after lunch at Villa Brancadoro—his 17th century hilltop residence in the town of Casette d'Ete, where he lives with his wife Barbara Pistilli and their son Filippo, 8—and zipping over to Ancona, where he usually boards his Falcon 2000...

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