Leonardo Pesce is the new CEO of PanariaGroup USA overseeing the evolving presence of the $170 million company in the United States. 

Florida Tile is a fully owned subsidiary of Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.A., a world leader in producing and distributing ceramic surfaces for floor and wall coverings. It boasts over 1,700 employees, more than 10,000 customers, seven production plants (three in Italy, three in Portugal and one in the USA), and 10 brands—Panaria Ceramica, Lea Ceramiche, Cotto d’Este, Blustyle and Maxa in Italy; Margres, Love Tiles and Gresart in Portugal; Florida Tile in the United States; and Bellissimo in India.

Floor Trends connected with Pesce to hear more about his new role and the goals for the company. 

Floor Trends: Why did you accept this role and what are your first priorities for the group under your new leadership?

Pesce: I accepted the role of CEO because I have long admired the leadership and vision of the Mussini family and the PanariaGroup. They are recognized in our industry and in the world for innovation and originality and I am excited to be part of that. My first priority is to work closely with the leadership team to develop a strategic plan to enable us to achieve our goals and manage the issues facing our company and industry. I will also focus on building strong relationships with our employees, customers, and stakeholders to ensure we are aligned and working together toward a common vision. Ultimately, my goal is to nurture a culture of excellence and collaboration that will empower our team to deliver exceptional results and drive long-term success for the group.

Floor Trends: What were your impressions of Coverings 2023?

Pesce: I'm extremely excited about the potential of our new product launches at Coverings this year. We have a fantastic team in place, and our focus is on creating a differentiated experience for our customers that sets us apart in the market. We are committed to delivering innovative products and services that meet the evolving needs of our customers, and we're confident that our new brands will resonate with them.

Floor Trends: You exhibited several brands. What are you most excited about for 2023 regarding these brands? 

Pesce: My role as CEO of PanariaGroup USA will be to oversee Florida Tile, Panaria Ceramica US, Lea, and Cotto d’Este. We want to approach the market as “one group with one vision” in order to gain U.S. market share. My vision is to promote Cotto d’Este to the A&D community’s large luxury national accounts, since the brand is a leading luxury Italian product.

We see several unique market opportunities that can help drive growth and success for our brand in the U.S. First, we're seeing a growing trend towards sustainability and eco-friendliness in the construction and design industry. Our brand is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend with our demonstrable success, commitment to sustainable practices, and environmentally friendly materials.

Floor Trends: What are the market opportunities you are seeing?

Pesce: I am seeing a huge opportunity for commercial specification business where the market in the US is still very robust. I also want to emphasize the distribution channel, opening new customers for US domestic production. We have an advanced technological manufacturing facility in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, that will allow us to be able to introduce more of the large-size porcelain, where the American market is positioning nowadays. 

Floor Trends: What is your overall business outlook for 2023?

Pesce: My overall outlook for 2023 is very positive for our group. We will have a clear strategic plan in place, and we're confident in our ability to execute it and drive growth and success. We see several key market trends aligned with our strengths and capabilities, and we are well positioned to capitalize on these trends. That said, we also recognize that the business landscape can be unpredictable and subject to change, so we remain agile and ready to adjust our plans as needed to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of our customers.

Floor Trends: What challenges is the group facing in 2023? 

Pesce: Like any business, PanariaGroup USA will face several challenges in 2023. One of the biggest challenges we anticipate is managing supply chain disruptions and shortages, which have been an ongoing issue in our industry. We're taking proactive measures to mitigate these risks by building strong relationships with our suppliers, diversifying our sourcing strategies, and investing in our logistics infrastructure. 

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