January 13 () – Europe’s third-largest insurer Assikurazioni Generali said on Thursday that CEO Francesco Caltagirone has resigned from the board amid a brawl in the boardroom between leading investors over the reappointment of CEO Philip Donnett.
Construction and newspaper magnate Caltagirone General is the second largest investor with an 8.04% stake. He opposed the reappointment of Donnet, backed by the General’s leading investor, Mediobanca, and a majority of board members.
In a statement here, the general said the Kaltagirone board’s work methods were hampered, in particular, by working with a strategic plan, attitudes to privileged data, and relationships with the media and other shareholders.
Generali Group Chairman Gabriele Galateri di Genola Caltagirone denied the reasons given and said the company will always conduct its business with absolute transparency and strict fairness.
Caltagirone launched his attack in April when the General refused to approve a general meeting to confirm the results. In September, he reached an agreement with glasses billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, Generali’s third-largest investor, to consult on the company’s decisions.
Later, smaller General Investor CRT joined the advisory deal, representing more than 16% of the total share, after Caltagirone and Del Vecchio expanded their farms in recent months.
To counter their influence, Mediobanca borrowed shares to gain a 17% voting share. The two fronts will clash at a general meeting in April to appoint a new board.
Caltagirone and Del Vecchio are ready to support an alternative CEO candidate and nominate their candidates to the board, people close to the issue say. (Interview of Shivani Tanna and Maria Ponnezhath in Bangalore and Valentina Za in Italy; edited by Cynthia Osterman)