Maurizio Gucci, former chairman of the Gucci luxury leather goods and fashion dynasty, was shot to death outside his office in Milan on Monday, police said.
They said a well-dressed man fired two shots into the 45-year-old Gucci's shoulder and buttocks. When Gucci turned around, the gunman shot him twice in the face at close range.
A guard at the building, on Via Palestro in central Milan, was hit in the shoulder but was not seriously injured.
The killer, a man in his 30s or 40s, drove away in a green Renault driven by an accomplice, a police spokesman said.
Police said they believe that the killing, originally thought to be the work of a professional hit man, was carried out by an amateur because the first two shots were not fatal.
They said the motive was not immediately clear and said employees of Gucci's new company knew of no threats or extortion attempts against their millionaire boss.
Gucci was a grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded the company in 1922 and emphasized Florentine artistry in leather goods and other fashion items. The Gucci interlocking GG symbol became synonymous with style and snob appeal.
The Gucci family history has been marked by feuds and they no longer control the company, which is now in the hands of an Arab investment bank, Investcorp.
Gucci sold his 50% stake in the business to London-based Investcorp in 1993--for a sum reported to be between $150 million and $200 million--after an acrimonious boardroom battle in which he gave up the chairmanship.
Gucci, whose official residence was the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz, had recently set up his own company, Vierse, at the office where he was killed.
His companion and one of two daughters rushed to the scene in tears after learning of his death on the radio, witnesses said.