Franco Bernabe has resigned from his position as chairman of Telecom Italia (TI). In a statement, the company says its board of directors, chaired by its deputy chairman, Aldo Minucci, has started the search for a new chairman. In the interim period, Marco Patuano, the current managing director and CEO, will fulfil Bernabe’s role. Widespread media reports suggest that Bernabe, who had headed TI for nearly six years, left the company after clashing with shareholders, headed by Telefonica, over its strategy, and in particular his unsuccessful attempts to raise capital.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, late last month Telefonica confirmed that it had increased its share capital in Telco, the holding company which controls 22.39% of TI, to 66%, while maintaining its 46.18% voting stake. Going forward, subject to receiving any required anti-trust and telecoms approvals – including in Brazil and Argentina where TI’s local units compete with Telefonica – the Spanish telco will pay out a second capital increase in Telco, and see its total share capital increase to around 70%.