Telecom Italia will vote at its next shareholder meeting on Vivendi’s request that seeks to add four of its high profile executives to the company’s board.

Vivendi, Telecom Italia’s top shareholder, wants the appointment of four directors, including its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, COO Stephane Roussel, CFO Herve Philippe and consultant Felicite Herzog, in a move that would increase the number of board members from 13 to 17.

Telecom Italia confirmed in a statement it will add the request to its agenda for the meeting scheduled for 15 December, as the French telecoms and media group reportedly seeks to increase its influence over strategy.

Vivendi, which owns more than 20 per cent in the Italian incumbent, made the request earlier this month after it emerged that French tycoon Xavier Niel has built up a position to own more than 15 per cent in the operator, becoming its second largest shareholder.

Telecom Italia said Vivendi, run by influential chairman Vincent Bollore, had acted legitimately in exercising “its right to request an addition to be made to the agenda”, and will vote on the issue. The statement follows reported governance concerns from Italian and foreign funds over Vivendi’s intentions for the Italian operator, after it made the request.

“In principle, the board of directors expresses itself in favour of the participation of the shareholders in the life of the business,” it added.

Patuano has board backing
Meanwhile, a board member at the company also reportedly moved to dispel rumours over the future of CEO Marco Patuano.

Patuano’s future has been hanging in the balance, according to mounting media speculation, after alleged disagreements with the company’s chairman Guiseppe Recchi.

“I believe Patuano has the backing of all the board and also that of Bollore,” said board member Tarak Ben Ammar, according to Reuters.