UPDATED 21.00, 10/03: Telecom Italia’s Franco Bernabe (pictured) today resigned from his role as chairman and CEO of the group, a move widely expected following speculation earlier this week.

Bernabe’s decision was announced at a board meeting and follows his attempts to rejuvenate the operator with a fundraising round, which have reportedly received insufficient support from key shareholders.

An official statement noted: “The Board expressed its gratitude to Franco Bernabe for the great commitment and substantial managerial contribution offered over the years spent guiding the Company.”

Bernabe, 65, had led the company for almost six years. He will receive €3.7 million in severance pay and get an additional €2.9 million as part of a 12-month non-compete agreement.

Chief operating officer Marco Patuano has been given executive powers temporarily, while deputy chairman Aldo Minucci will run the board until a chairman has been designated, according to a separate statement.

Telecom Italia said it has “started the process” to find a new, permanent chairman. Names in the frame include Patuano, independent director Jean-Paul Fitoussi, and Poste Italiane CEO Massimo Sarmi.

Bernabe is also chairman of mobile industry association GSMA. “Franco Bernabe remains the elected Chairman of the GSMA,” notes a statement from the association this afternoon. “We will advise if there is any change to this position in due course.”