Friday , April 23 2021

Telecom Italia to name its new boss



The vague position at the helm of Telecom Italia should not remain for long. The Italian operator is about to name Luigi Gubitosi, Bloomberg believes, citing sources close to the case.

The board of directors meets this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. to vote. And the ten (fifteen) members of the activist fund list Elliott have already agreed to nominate Luigi Gubitosi. His rival, Alfredo Altavilla, who is also on the board of Telecom Italia as an independent director, would have thrown in the towel, according to Reuters.

At the age of 57, Luigi Gubitosi seems to have the right profile, having led in the past the Italian telecommunications operator Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A (competitor of Telecom Italia), as well as RAI, the public television channel.

Last year, the Italian government appointed him as Alitalia's special commissioner (along with two others) to restructure and revitalize the Italian airline, which was placed under supervision in May 2017.

Disagreement with the group's fixed network infrastructure

This vote on the board of directors of Telecom Italia takes place five days after the revocation of Amos Genish, who was the managing director since September 2017. The latter was supported by Vivendi, the largest shareholder in the Transalpine group, with 24% of the capital.

But last May, Elliott (which holds 8.8%) took over the board of directors, electing its own list of members. " Amos Genish had the opportunity to create value, we support him. But he did nothing and ended up being an obstacle Elliott said in a statement sent after being let go by his managing director last week.

The US fund particularly refers to its desire to split its fixed network infrastructure (Netco); he is considering a merger of this activity with Open Fiber competitor. Elliott also argues that the Italian government is in the process of amending the regulation on the sharing of fixed networks, which will facilitate this type of reconciliation.

Market capitalization to a minimum of five years

Alongside Vivendi, it is called the short-term option the option of not maintaining the fixed network infrastructure and the French group is faced with this "deconsolidation".

One thing is certain: time is running out for the operator with a debt of almost EUR 25 billion and recorded a net loss of EUR 1.4 billion in the last quarter due to a depreciation of its domestic assets of more than 2 billion. The decision taken by the Management Board to approve this provision was much criticized by Vivendi. In the stock market, the Italian group's capitalization currently flirts with its lowest level in five years.

Nicolas Richaud


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