Telecom Italia (TIM) deputy chairman Giuseppe Recchi is to become CEO of Dutch healthcare firm Affidea Group.
Recchi, who was named deputy chairman last year, has overseen operational control of parts of the parts of TIM’s business that has government contracts, including security arm Telsy, and Sparkle – its wholesale unit.
Recchi was Telecom Italia’s chairman until mid-2017, when he was replaced by Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Vivendi.
TIM told Capacity that there is no immediate change in governance, with Recchi "maintaining all positions in the group and the related powers" until the Italian operator's governance iss updated by the board of directors.
His potential departure will throw up a number of considerations for TIM after the Italian government enacted a “golden power” rule which means an Italian national must run key parts of its business.
The government brought in the rule after French media firm Vivendi took effective control of the company last year, holding a 24.9% stake in TIM but also dominating its board of directors. According to a report from the Financial Times, TIM has lodged an appeal against this.
The potential change in governance means that activities deemed “significant” for national security, which could include Sparkle’s array of subsea cable systems, may need to be assigned to another Italian national, if TIM’s appeal is unsuccessful.
Recchi said; “I am delighted to be joining Affidea and am looking forward to working with its hugely talented and dedicated #AffideaFamily. The vision of the Board and company shareholders is of a scale and purpose that matches my own, and I am eager to get started. I join a business that is in a strong position in all of its current areas of operation and I will be focusing my efforts on ensuring Affidea continues to deliver excellence to its customers in its existing and new markets, as well as helping it innovate and grow its role as a provider of superb healthcare.”
The news comes just days after TIM was moved to deny reports claiming CEO Amis Genish was set to leave after just four months in charge of the Italian incumbent. Media speculation had linked Genish with a return to his former employer Oi, the troubled Brazilian operator.
Italian media claims TIM has now began searching for Recchi’s replacement, claiming former CEO Franco Bernabè is one name being considered. Bernabè was appointed to TIM’s board as an independent director.
During Bernabè’s stint as CEO, TIM looked at the possibility of structural separation, something recently advocated by Italian telecoms miniter Carlo Calenda. The minister for economic development called in a TV interview for TIM to be split into two independent companies, with one running infrastructure and the other offering services.
Bernabè resigned when the then board rejected his plan. But now Vivendi has restored him to TIM’s board and the project is back on the agenda, according to a TIM official.