Cavanna, a resident of Naples, Florida, led a 35-year career at ExxonMobil, before retiring as an executive vice president and founding Trex Company in 1996.
One of four original executive founding members who formed Trex, he was responsible for the financial plan that led to the company’s initial listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1999 and for overseeing the company’s financial planning and operations for the better part of the decade that followed. The company is still listed on the NYSE today, as TREX.
“Tony was instrumental in launching Trex. He was very proud of the company’s success,” Andy Ferrari, another of Trex’s founders, said. “Tony was a very kind, honorable and talented man. I will miss him greatly.”
Trex Company has since grown to the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. Named to Forbes’ 2021 List of America’s Best Mid-Sized Companies and Fortune magazine’s 2020 list of the world’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, Trex is now stocked in more than 6,700 retail locations worldwide.
“Tony played an instrumental role building the business with a focus on strategic planning, financial strategy and sound judgement,” said Bryan Fairbanks, Trex Company’s current President and CEO.
During his Trex career, Cavanna held several key management positions, including as director, executive vice president, chief financial officer and then chief executive officer until his retirement from day-to-day operations, at which time he then served as chairman of the board through his retirement in 2008.
“Tony was dedicated to the success of the Trex Company and brand. Even after his retirement, we would talk regularly to discuss the factors driving Trex’s success. I always enjoyed my discussions with Tony and will miss his contributions,” said Jim Cline, Trex Company Chairman of the Board.
At ExxonMobil Chemical, Cavanna held a variety of positions, including group vice president, vice president of planning and finance, vice president of Mobil Chemical and general manager of its films division worldwide. He was also president and general manager of Mobil Plastics Europe and vice president of planning and supply of the films division.
In recognition of his contributions to the Belgian economy as president of Mobil Plastics Europe, Cavanna was knighted by Belgian royalty.
Cavanna also served as director for Ultralife Batteries Company Inc. and as a member of its board’s audit and finance committee and compensation committee.
Cavanna was a distinguished alumnus of Villanova School of Engineering, from which he graduated in 1962. He remained a loyal advocate of Villanova University where he started a scholarship in his son’s name. He also held a Master of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
In retirement his priority became his family, and he never shied away from ice cream runs or a challenge to race to the bottom of the ski hill for hot chocolate. He enjoyed golf, tennis and bocce and supported the scholarship fund of the Northern Italian American Club of Val Trebbia and Val Nuri in New York.
He is preceded in death, by five days, by a daughter, Linda, and by son, Michael Cavanna, who died in 2003. He is survived by daughter, Christine; son-in-laws, David and Doug; brother Henry Cavanna; six grandchildren, Nicole, Kailey, Ryan, Gianna, Dylan and Gabriella; and companion, Louise Friedmann. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Cavanna was the son of Dominic and Primina Cavanna.
Family and friends will share in a Mass of Christian burial that will take place in upstate New York at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.