Telecom Italia reaches decision on chairman

17 APR 2014

Telecom Italia shareholders voted for Giuseppe Recchi (pictured, below) to become the company’s new chairman along with a new 13-strong board of directors.

recchiRecchi, chairman of Italian energy company Eni and former CEO of General Electric for South Europe, was approved for the position at a shareholders’ meeting.

Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano backed changes in February to allow shareholders to vote for the new chairman and give investors a greater say in company decisions. The chairman and CEO roles were split following the departure of Franco Bernabe in October last year.

The new board of directors has been appointed for three financial years, with 10 listed as independent, which could pave the way for the operator to become a public company, according to Bloomberg.

The vote marks a turning point in the tension between Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder, Telefonica-led Telco, and other shareholders led by Findim which holds a 5 per cent share in the operator.

Findim CEO Marco Fossati’s proposal that Telecom Italia’s directors should be dismissed due to the potential for conflicts of interest between Telefonica and Telecom Italia was rejected in December last year.

None of the individuals nominated by Findim were appointed to the board, including chairman nominee Vito Alfonso Gamberale.

Telecom Italia has been struggling largely due to the economic conditions and intense competition in its home market.

The company reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of €674 million for 2013, compared with a prior-year loss of €1.63 billion, on revenue of €23.41 billion, down 9.1 per cent year-on-year.

The company said its “financial discipline” means it will not pay dividends to ordinary shareholders, stating that “in light of the signs of recovery we can already see on the market, we will be able to remunerate all shareholders again in the next financial year”.

The confirmation of a new chairman allows Telecom Italia to continue its efforts to upgrade networks, partner with broadcasters and to sell non-core assets. Patuano also has ambitions to increase investment in the company’s Brazilian business, TIM.

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Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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