More than half of the board of directors at Telecom Italia (TIM) has resigned, in a move seen as heading off a challenge from ‘activist investor’ Elliott Advisors. Eight directors are stepping down with effect from 24 April, including chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine. All eight were nominated by French group Vivendi, which has a 24% majority stake in TIM and is looking to pre-empt a move by Elliott which had called for six board members to be replaced.
The resignations will force a shareholder vote to elect a new board, with TIM scheduling the meeting for 4 May. De Puyfontaine said: ‘This will allow TIM shareholders to decide quickly on a new full board … rather than voting on piecemeal changes to the board as called for by Elliott.’ The TIM chairman is expected to receive a new nomination from Vivendi.
A report from Reuters says that Vivendi has already secured the backing of a number of institutional investors as it looks to reinforce its controlling position at the Italian telco. Elliott, which has built up a 5.74% stake in TIM over recent weeks, is known to favour a quick spin-off and listing of TIM’s network assets.