Sunday, 30 April 2017

Vivendi CEO could be nominated as Telecom Italia chairman

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Thursday 30 March 17

Report claims it will be a straight choice between installing Arnaud de Puyfontaine or keeping Giuseppe Recchi.

Vivendi is mulling whether to nominate its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine for the position of Telecom Italia's next chairman. This is according to sources cited by Reuters on Wednesday, who said that were de Puyfontaine to become chairman…

Vivendi is mulling whether to nominate its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine for the position of Telecom Italia's next chairman.

This is according to sources cited by Reuters on Wednesday, who said that were de Puyfontaine to become chairman, he would wield less power than current chairman Giuseppe Recchi in order to assuage concerns about the French media conglomerate's influence over the telco.

With a stake of 23.94%, Vivendi is Telecom Italia's biggest single shareholder. It has four seats on the incumbent's board, and last April, de Puyfontaine became deputy chairman.

"There are only two rational choices: either keeping Recchi or replacing him with someone who represents the interests of the number one shareholder," said one of Reuters' sources. "Having a Vivendi guy as head of Telecom Italia's board would make sense."

Vivendi has attracted scrutiny from Italy's competition regulators after building up a 28.8% stake in broadcaster Mediaset, just below the 30% threshold that would trigger a mandatory takeover offer.

Antitrust regulations forbid one player controlling large stakes in telcos as well as media companies. Appointing de Puyfontaine as chairman of Telecom Italia would do little to allay fears about Vivendi's position in both Mediaset and Telecom Italia.

Telecom Italia's board is due for renewal in May; proposed candidates have to be nominated by 9 April, and the final choice would require shareholder approval.

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