Italy Backs New Mandates for State Firm CEOs

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s state lender approved new terms for chief executive officers at three government-controlled firms, yet another sign the business-friendly League party is calling the shots in the country’s fractious coalition.

The state lender, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA, confirmed the incumbent CEOs at Italgas SpA, Snam SpA and Fincantieri SpA in its lists for their companies’ respective boards, a decision that had been supported by Matteo Salvini’s League. Coalition partner the Five Star Movement had sought to shake up management at the three companies.

Cassa Depositi, the main shareholder in the companies through some its units, proposed Luca dal Fabbro as Snam’s chairman, Alberto Dell’Acqua as Italgas’s chairman and Giampiero Massolo as Fincantieri’s chairman.

Bloomberg News reported last week that the government was leaning toward renewal.

League Win

The decision to grant new CEO terms amounts to a win for the League, as the party had argued for keeping the managers in their roles despite Five Star efforts to remove them, citing the companies’ strong performances. The insurgent Five Star made change at the top of state-controlled firms a campaign plank during national elections last year.

Ground zero for the clash over boardroom jobs was shipbuilder Fincantieri, which has been led by 74-year-old Giuseppe Bono since 2002.

Giving in on the mandates marks just the latest political defeat for Five Star, which has been sliding in the polls in recent weeks. The party was at 22.1 percent in a SWG survey on March 4, down from 22.6 percent on Feb. 25 and a steep drop from the 32.7 percent the populist movement scored in last year’s general election.

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