Telecom Italia CEO Flavio Cattaneo will leave the company with a €25 million severance package, as Vivendi chief convergence officer Amos Genish looks poised to take over the day to day running of the operator.
In a widely anticipated move, Catteneo leaves the company by mutual consent after 16 months in the job amid rumours of clashes with the operator’s largest shareholder, Vivendi. The CEO’s departure comes less than two years after his predecessor Marco Patuano left the company surrounded by similar speculation.
Telecom Italia said the appointment of a successor would be the subject of a board meeting on Thursday 27 July. Given Vivendi’s increasing influence on the company and its majority on the operator’s board, Genish looks among the front-runners for the role at the head of Telecom Italia.
Prior to his role with Vivendi, Genish was president and CEO of Telefonica Brazil and previously co-founded Brazilian telecoms and pay-TV operator GVT.
According to Reuters sources, Genish will be put in charge of the company’s day to day business with the job title General Manager. He is likely to be supported by deputy chairman Giuseppe Recchi, who will lead relations with the Italian Government.
If rumours prove correct, the new structure looks similar to a three-pronged leadership structure – which also includes Telecom Italia Chairman and Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine – reported in early July.
Despite his short-lived tenure at the head of the company, Telecom Italia said Cattaneo had performed an “extraordinary turnaround” of the business. In a statement, the company pointed to increased earnings growth, reorganisation of internal processes and progress towards meeting government commitments on Italy’s fibre roll-out.
“The company thanks Mr Flavio Cattaneo for the major task he undertook,” the statement said. “It is universally recognised that such a recovery has never before been seen, making it the first among the major telecommunications companies that were formerly incumbent in Europe and the US, in terms of speed of growth of all main top line drivers, and of profitability, as well achieving the greatest coverage in fibre.”