Sunday, 30 April 2017

Vivendi hints at intention to replace Telecom Italia chairman

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Monday 10 April 17

French media group's CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine heads list of board candidates.

Vivendi on Sunday submitted a list of nominees for Telecom Italia's board that hints at its possible intention to replace chairman Giuseppe Recchi with its own CEO, Arnaud de Puyfontaine…

Vivendi on Sunday submitted a list of nominees for Telecom Italia's board that hints at its possible intention to replace chairman Giuseppe Recchi with its own CEO, Arnaud de Puyfontaine.

De Puyfontaine tops the list of proposed candidates, while Recchi sits fourth, and Telecom Italia's chief executive, Flavio Cattaneo is in fifth. Franco Bernabe, who resigned as chairman and CEO of Telecom Italia in October 2013, is also on Vivendi's list.

Sources cited by Reuters in late March claimed that Vivendi intends to replace Recchi with de Puyfontaine, although were he to become chairman, he would wield less power than Recchi in order to assuage concerns about the French media group's influence over the telco.

Vivendi is Telecom Italia's biggest single shareholder, with a stake of 23.94%. De Puyfontaine already serves as the telco's deputy chairman, and is one of four Vivendi representatives on the board.

As well as hinting at a new chairman, Vivendi on Sunday also proposed another reduction in the number of board members, this time from 16 to 15. If this proposal is successful, and Vivendi maintains the same number of representatives on Telecom Italia's board, then its influence over the company would further increase.

Indeed, last week, a separate Reuters report claimed that Vivendi has informed the European Commission that it could take de facto control of Telecom Italia following next month's shareholder meeting, at which the new board will be elected.

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