The board of Telecom Italia (TIM) has reappointed Amos Genish as its CEO following the boardroom coup by US investment firm Elliott on Friday. Fulvio Conti has been named as chairman. Elliott won a narrow victory at a shareholder meeting, taking 49.84% of the vote ahead of TIM’s majority owner Vivendi with 47.18%. That success enabled the US investor to nominate ten of TIM’s 15 board members, wresting control of the telco away from France’s Vivendi, which holds around 24% of its shares. Activist investor Elliott has built up a stake of around 9% in TIM, with a view to improving returns for shareholders.
The US investment company is known to favour a separation of TIM’s network and retail operations, a plan which is backed by the Italian government, which had become concerned at the level of influence being demonstrated by Vivendi.
Genish had warned that he would not be able to remain at the head of the telco unless his business plan for 2018-2020 was given the full backing of the board, but Elliott came out in support of the CEO, even though he was originally installed by Vivendi.
Meanwhile, Italy’s telecoms regulator Agcom says the vote does not alter its stance towards Vivendi’s obligation to lower its stake in either TIM or Italian broadcaster Mediaset, in which the French company has a 30% interest. The watchdog told Vivendi last year that it must reduce its influence at one of the two firms in order to comply with regulations which limit control in the media sector. Since then Vivendi has placed a 19% stake in Mediaset into a trust fund in an attempt to appease regulators.