Telecom Italia board hangs up, dials battle for control

Rome: Eight members of Telecom Italia’s board of directors resigned, triggering a re-election of the entire board as an activist investor fund has challenged the control over the company by France’s Vivendi.
Activist fund Elliott had called for the removal of six board members at a shareholders meeting next month, complaining about Vivendi’s management of Telecom Italia (TIM), which like many other former state monopoly operators has had trouble in the face of heightened competition.
But in a statement, Telecom Italia said that eight directors had announced their resignation, which it says under the company’s bylaws means that the entire board must be re-elected. “In resigning, the aforementioned directors have expressed their hope that this move would help to clarify and provide certainty to the governance of the company,” said a company statement.
A shareholders meeting was called for May 4 to elect the new board. Among those who quit was executive chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine, who is also Vivendi’s CEO, and whom Elliot had sought to remove. — AFP