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Telecom Italia chief exit talks confirmed

Telecom Italia has confirmed that it is in talks with CEO Marco Patuano over the terms of the latter’s departure, following weeks of speculation over his future.

Marco PatuanoResponding to a request by market regulator Consob, Telecom Italia confirmed exit plans were being discussed.

“Negotiations are ongoing with the chief executive officer aimed at the definition of an agreement – to be submitted to the relevant corporate bodies – on the consensual suspension of the offices held by the CEO within the group,” the statement read.

The telco said that “no communication about resignation or surrender of the office has been presented” to date.

According to local reports, Patuano decided to step down last week. Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder, Vivendi, which now has a 24.9% stake in the operator, had been pressing for Patuano’s departure amid disagreements over strategy and perceived lack of progress in improving the company’s performance.

The running of the firm at an operational level will be led in the interim by Telecom Italia president Guiseppe Recchi ahead of the appointment of a new CEO, who will be chosen by Recchi and the nomination committee. The latter now includes new Telecom Italia board members Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine and chief operating officer Stéphane Roussel.

Flavio Cattaneo, currently CEO of railways firm NTV and a former chief of public broadcaster Rai, heads the pack of potential replacements for Patuano, who joined Telecom Italia in 1990 and took over as CEO in 2008.