Telecom Italia overhauls board

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Rome - Telecom Italia investors elected a new chairman on Wednesday and overhauled the company's board in a bid to bring greater transparency and efficiency to Italy's largest phone group.

Giuseppe Recchi, outgoing chairman of oil group Eni, was elected as part of a restructuring of the board which saw independent directors favoured over executives from shareholder Telefonica, Italian media reports said.

The revamp aims to give chief executive Marco Patuano greater flexibility in tackling the group's mammoth debts and funding investments to boost growth.

The telecoms giant reported a net debt of 26.8 billion euros ($37.02 billion) at the end of last year.

The change in board make-up is “the turning point which projects us towards the future”, Patuano was quoted as saying in the reports.

“The period of governance alchemy is over, it is time to speak business,” he said, adding that “the focus will be on strategy”.

Investors with a combined 56-percent shareholding were present at the vote.

A list of board candidates put forward by international investment management association Assogestioni won 50.28 percent of shareholders votes, securing election.

There had been concern among investors over the influence on the board of Spanish group Telefonica, the group's largest shareholder and a direct rival to the Italian company in Brazil.

Telefonica is part of the Telco holding company that owns 22.4 percent of Telecom Italia.

Telco's list obtained 45.5 percent, securing three posts on the new board alongside Assogestioni's three seats.

Shareholders will vote separately to elect the seven other directors required to complete the 13-member board. - Sapa-AFP

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