Elliot Management wrestled control of Telecom Italia’s board away from the operator’s largest shareholder Vivendi, casting doubt on the Italian incumbent’s strategy and fate of its CEO.
Shareholders elected Elliott Management’s nominated slate of directors by a margin of less than two per cent of votes cast. As a result, ten independent executives put forward by Elliott Management will sit alongside five nominated by Vivendi.
As three of the Vivendi candidates elected are independent, its only two direct representatives on the board will be former Telecom Italia chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine and the operator’s CEO Amos Genish.
Although Genish won a place on the board, his role as CEO seems less certain. Earlier this week he said his position would be “untenable” if Elliott Management’s slate won control of the board. The investment firm later responded by offering Genish its full backing.
Today’s extraordinary shareholder meeting vote followed an intense tussle for control of the operator which eventually led to mass board resignations on 24 April.
During the increasingly bitter row Vivendi fiercely defended its strategy, while activist investor Elliott Management heavily criticised its running of the company.
As the dispute escalated, Elliott submitted a slate of independent directors to replace Vivendi representatives on the board – including de Puyfontaine – at Telecom Italia’s board election.
In response to Elliott Management’s challenge the majority of the board resigned with effect from the date of the company’s AGM. The action resulted in the board election being delayed until today (4 May) and led to a legal row on when the vote would take place.