Telecom Italia chief executive Franco Bernabe (pictured) is considering resigning at the company’s board meeting this week (3 October), according to a number of media reports.
The move follows Bernabe’s attempts to rejuvenate the operator with a fundraising, which have received insufficient support from key shareholders, according to reports including Reuters and Bloomberg. Both quoted unnamed sources close to the situation.
The company could name either independent director Jean-Paul Fitoussi or chief operating officer Marco Patuano as interim chief executive should Bernabe resign, the sources said. In addition, core shareholders could pick a new chairman, they said.
Poste Italiane CEO Massimo Sarmi is the favourite candidate of shareholder group Telco to replace Bernabe, according to one report.
Telefonica last week agreed to a gradual buyout of the three other shareholders in Telco, which controls Telecom Italia. The Spanish operator is opposed to any capital increase to reduce Telecom Italia’s debt and would prefer to see a disposal of its Brazilian mobile operator, said reports.
Bernabe has been gauging support for his proposed capital increase ahead of Thursday’s board meeting, say sources. The proposed fundraising is for up to €5 billion.
He has spoken out against the potential sale of prized assets such as TIM Participacoes in Brazil. Luigi Zingales and four other independent directors have also spoken out against selling the Brazilian subsidiary.