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24 July 2017
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
The biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia wants to put Amos Genish, former CEO of Telefônica Brasil, in as managing director of the Italian operator, which trades as TIM.
Vivendi appointed Genish as chief
convergence officer at the start of 2017 after he integrated
Telefônica Brasil’s mobile business, Vivo,
with its cable TV and fixed network operator GVT.
The appointment is being seen as the reason for the termination
of Flavio Cattaneo’s contract as CEO of TIM, a
move expected at a board meeting today. Genish founded GVT and
Vivendi bought it before selling it to Telefónica.
Telecom Italia gave notice of the board meeting late on Friday
evening, when it said the one item on the agenda was the
"mutual termination of the relationship" between it and
Genish’s possible appointment as managing director
– with no immediate appointment of a CEO –
emerged over the weekend.
Vivendi, the French media group which owns 24% of Telecom
Italia, hired Genish in January to oversee the
group’s convergence strategy between content,
platforms and distribution.
It said at the time that he would be based in London as well as
Paris. Now it looks as though he will also be based in Milan
and Rome – TIM’s two main offices.
Friday’s news was expected to be the latest stage
in the gradual domination of TIM – still officially
Telecom Italia – by Vivendi. In early June Vivendi
appointed its CEO, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, to be executive
chairman of the board of Telecom Italia.
Existing chairman Giuseppe Recchi was demoted at the same time
to deputy chairman.
In April Vivendi proposed former Telecom Italia CEO Franco
Bernabè to the operator’s board and he
could in time emerge as CEO. Bernabè resigned from
Telecom Italia in 2013 when the then board rejected his plan to
divide the company between an infrastructure operator and a
Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Cattaneo is
negotiating compensation from TIM for early termination of his
contract, saying that he will get less than €30 million.
The newspaper said that Vivendi’s plan to appoint
Genish as managing director alongside the current CEO was key
in Catteneo’s wish to go.
Genish was appointed to Telefónica Brazil operations in
May 2015 following the integration of Vivo and GVT after
Vivendi sold GVT to the Telefónica group. He was
previously CEO of GVT, an innovative and fast-growing telecom
and pay TV operator in Brazil which he co-founded in