Vivendi reportedly proposed the appointment of Luciano Carta, the former chairman Italian defence group Leonardo to join the board of Telecom Italia, filling a seat left vacant by the French company’s CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine since January.

The nomination, reported by Reuters, comes as tensions begin to resurface between Telecom Italia and top shareholder Vivendi over the Italian operator’s plans to sell fixed assets as part of efforts to revamp its business.

Carta has a career steeped in the defence sector and sources claim he has been handpicked by Vivendi to be one of its representatives.

The nomination is due to be reviewed by a committee and then the board, which is expected to hold its next meeting on 22 June.

Vivendi and Telecom Italia have a history of being embroiled in tussles for power, however there had been a period of calm until recently.

In January, de Puyfontaine left the company’s board, citing an aim to devote his efforts to re-establishing a growth plan for the operator from his position as CEO of Vivendi. His departure came two months after fellow Vivendi representative Frank Cadoret also left.

Reuters report the French group, which has a stake nearing 24 per cent, has called into question Telecom Italia CEO Pietro Labriola’s turnaround plans.

These include the sale of fixed spin-off Netco, a business comprising its fixed-line assets and international submarine cable unit Sparkle.

Despite Vivendi’s reservations, a sale could be edging closer after Italian state lender CDP Equity pulled out of a potential deal this week, leaving private equity company KKR the only other remaining serious contender.