Telecom Italia loses CEO in boardroom clash amid KKR approach

Following a squabble with top investor Vivendi (VIV.PA), Telecom Italia (TIM) (TLIT.MI) lost its fourth chief executive in six years on Friday, when Luigi Gubitosi resigned, a week after a $12 billion buyout attempt by US firm KKR (KKR.N).

Gubitosi’s remaining responsibilities were taken over by Chairman Salvatore Rossi, a veteran central bank official, including monitoring of TIM’s assets that are important to Italy’s national security.

On Thursday, the CEO offered to abandon his responsibilities, stating in a letter that he did not want to obstruct the board’s assessment of KKR’s proposal.

TIM said it had formed a special committee led by Rossi to examine the offer with the assistance of consultants it was about to appoint.

The TIM nominations committee will work with headhunters Spencer Stuart to assure the group’s long-term leadership stability, taking into account the growth of TIM’s structure and assets, according to the company.

The board would also consider the threat to earnings posed by a soccer rights contract that has failed to boost revenue and resulted in two profit warnings, according to sources.

The poor performance of TIM has strengthened Vivendi’s hand in removing Gubitosi, who was hired by rival TIM investor Elliott in 2018. Gubitosi stayed on the board, preventing Labriola from joining the board and being named CEO on Friday, a post that insiders say he may take on later.