Telecom Italia preps for KKR review with exec reshuffle

Another day, another executive reshuffle at Telecom Italia (TIM). Indeed, life at the Italian incumbent has been even more tumultuous than usual in recent weeks, with ongoing boardroom disputes, the loss of its CEO, a takeover offer from KKR and even the threat of strikes.

TIM has now announced that Nicola Grassi has left the company, vacating the position of chief technology and operations officer. Given that Grassi only took on the role in June, it seems reasonable to assume that this was not an expected move.

Furthermore, Carlo Nardello, chief strategy, business development and transformation officer, is also heading out the door.

Shuffle the deck: The Italian incumbent has announced a raft of executive changes ahead of some crucial decisions about its future. (Source: Arcansel / Alamy Stock Photo)
Shuffle the deck: The Italian incumbent has announced a raft of executive changes ahead of some crucial decisions about its future.
(Source: Arcansel / Alamy Stock Photo)

Nardello, previously chief of staff of the Alitalia Extraordinary Commissioners, was appointed to this position in January 2019 - ironically as part of a trio to help steady the ship after a turbulent 2018, when activist investor Elliott tussled with 24% shareholder Vivendi to gain control of the operator.

TIM said the chief technology and operations officer role has been merged into the chief network, operations and wholesale office function that has now been assigned to Stefano Siragusa.

Siragusa was appointed head of network infrastructure at TIM in April 2018. Claudio Ongaro, currently head of M&A at TIM, is taking on the new role as head of strategy and business development on an interim basis.

Pietro Labriola, the CEO of TIM Brazil who was appointed general manager of TIM Group following the departure of CEO Luigi Gubitosi, is also taking on the chief consumer, small and medium market office function for now.

Massimo Mancini, responsible for enterprise clients at TIM since June 2019, is in charge of the chief enterprise market office function while Sandra Aitala, currently head of commercial communication and media, is taking over brand strategy and commercial communication.

There’s more to come: the procurement function was entrusted to Simone De Rose, again "ad interim", while Paolo Chiriotti is appointed as the reference person for the management of business transformation projects.

Review of KKR bid looms

Also this week, TIM appointed Goldman Sachs and LionTree as its advisers to help it review the offer by KKR: the US investor wants to buy TIM in its entirety and take it private, at a cost of €10.8 billion (US$12.2 billion). TIM also has net debt of about €22.5 billion ($25.4 billion) that any buyer would have to take on.

Reuters has noted that KKR's offer is conditional on support from TIM and the Italian government, as well as a four-week due diligence period. The operator’s board is due to meet on the matter on December 17.

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Meanwhile, Vivendi is reportedly working with Italy’s state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA on a separate plan to revive Telecom Italia’s fortunes. The La Repubblica newspaper reported that the leaders of the two companies have met recently, and look set to meet again soon to develop their joint strategy.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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