Arnaud de Puyfontaine has been temporarily handed most of the powers held by outgoing CEO Flavio Cattaneo at Telecom Italia, as top shareholder Vivendi searches for a long term successor.
The Italian operator, which also announced its half year results, said de Puyfontaine, who also serves as its chairman, will take over all of Cattaneo’s responsibilities, apart from security and Telecom Italia’s international wholesale unit Sparkle, which will be assigned to deputy chairman Guiseppe Recchi for the time being.
Reuters added that Telecom Italia could name Vivendi’s current chief convergence officer Amos Genish as its general manager for operations as early as today.
Genish has been widely tipped for the role following the departure of Cattaneo, and the move will see him take over most operational decisions at the Italian operator. He formerly headed up Telefonica’s Brazilian subsidiary and also founded Brazilian operator GVT.
According to Reuters sources, Vivendi will continue to search for a long-term CEO, preferably an Italian national, but if no candidate is found by the end of the summer, Genish could be handed the top job.
Cattaneo left the company by mutual consent after 16 months in the job, amid rumours of clashes with Vivendi. Predecessor Marco Patuano left the company surrounded by similar speculation.
Indeed, Vivendi has tightened its grip on the Italian operator in recent months by increasing the number of representatives it has on the company’s board, and making its move to take control of the Italian operator.
In the Q2 results statement, Telecom Italia said its board of directors “acknowledged the beginning of the direction and coordination activity over TIM by Vivendi”.
Consolidated revenue for the quarter reached €5 billion, a 6.4 per cent increase from the same quarter year last year, with the operator boosted by 500,000 new mobile customers at home and a continued recovery in Brazil.
Consolidated EBITDA for Q2 totalled €2.1 billion, a 5.5 per cent improvement, with the uplift in part attributed to its cost recovery plan.
“I leave the company better than I found it, as the results show,” said outgoing chief Cattaneo, who will reportedly leave the company today.