Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine (pictured) was appointed chairman of Telecom Italia in a move which sees the French media company tighten its grip on the Italian operator.
At a board meeting on 1 June, de Puyfontaine was elected to replace incumbent Giuseppe Recchi, who had been in the role since 2014 and becomes deputy chairman in the reshuffle. Telecom Italia confirmed CEO Flavio Cattaneo will remain in post.
Vivendi is Telecom Italia’s largest single shareholder with a stake of 24 per cent and exerted increasing levels of control on the Italian operator over the last 18 months.
At the operator’s annual meeting in May, Vivendi successfully nominated ten of the executives elected to its 15 person board.
The EC cleared Vivendi’s position earlier this week on the condition Telecom Italia divest its interest in media company Persidera.
Vivendi’s moves faced opposition, with shareholder advisory body Institutional Shareholder Services imploring Telecom Italia shareholders not to approve the company’s board nominations ahead of May’s vote.
The French company’s position in the Italian media sector is currently also the subject of a ruling by Italian communications regulator Agcom, which demanded the company reduce either its Telecom Italia stake or its 28.8 per cent share of broadcast firm Mediaset to meet ownership laws.
In April, rumours emerged in the Italian media suggesting Telecom Italia CEO Cattaneo would quit if de Puyfontaine was given the role of chairman. The reports were later denied by the Italian executive, who took over the role of CEO in March 2016 from Marco Patuano amid reports the former chief had clashed with Vivendi.