Savvy Telecom Italia chief calls for shareholder revolt «DiePresse.com



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The struggle for power in Telecom Italia is reaching its peak. After the installation of a new CEO by the American hedge fund Elliott, whose predecessor calls for a shareholder revolt. The board of directors called on Sunday, against the wishes of the main French owner Vivendi Luigi Gubitosi in the main position. This indicates that the company is facing a more aggressive transformation than previously planned.

Gubitosi was formerly head of the Wind telecommunications group and is currently also appointed by the special state administrator of the troubled airline Alitalia. At Telecom Italia, Elliott initially appointed Gubitosi as an external member of the Board of Directors. The US fund had taken control of Vivendi over the board in May.

Now Gubitosi follows former Telecom Italia boss Amos Genish, who had to clear his post on Tuesday unexpectedly. The background was a break with corporate strategy, as people familiar with the matter said. As a result, several members of Elliott's board wanted Genish to focus more on outsourcing its fixed-line business and selling business. In April, 98% of shareholders supported Genish's restructuring plan, which focuses on the digital transformation of the company and improves financial performance. Telecom Italia groans under a net debt of € 25 billion and faces increasing competitive pressure, in particular by the entry of low-cost French supplier Iliad into the market.

Genish still serves on the board of directors after being expelled as CEO. He is now trying to impose an extraordinary general meeting. For this, it needs the support of five percent of the owners. Shareholders must make a fundamental decision about the impending strategy change at the meeting. After all, it's about dividing Telecom Italia, Genish told reporters. Vivendi can support you according to information from a person familiar with the situation in your project. On the Board of Directors, the French company voted against Gubitosi, a Vivendi spokesman said.

(Reuters)

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