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Telecom Italia boss insists he’s worth it

Flavio Cattaneo

Apparently inspired by L’Oreal, Telecom Italia (TIM) CEO has responded to criticisms of his ample remuneration by effectively saying ‘because I’m worth it.’

In an interview with the FT Flavio Cattaneo, who got the job back in March of this year despite minimal telecoms industry experience, felt compelled to defend a pay package that could include a €40m bonus if he cuts enough costs.

Former TIM board member Cattaneo got the gig after Marco Patuano, the three-year incumbent, was apparently forced out by minority shareholder Vivendi when he failed to march to the beat of their drum. So keen was TIM to get rid of Patuano that they gave him €6 million to clear off, so the company has clearly been preoccupied with safeguarding shareholder value for some time.

Cattaneo, it seems, is more on-side with the Vivendi way, but just to make sure he’s using the correct hymn-sheet Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine was appointed to the TIM board back in April. Since then it’s all gone a bit quiet, so it came as a mild surprise to see Cattaneo hold forth to the FT.

Opting for deflection as his rhetorical strategy Cattaneo responded to questions over his massive package by telling the FT “The scandal is paying people who not only haven’t done anything but who have lost money, and that happens frequently in this country. We need more Italian remuneration structured this way . . . There would be a significant impact on the economy.”

In an amusing aside the FT asked what he does with his time, when he’s not ‘steamlining’, inferring that his actress wife Sabrina Ferilli is on the high-maintenance side. “I have a demanding wife,” he said. “My free take is much reduced. Let’s say I have a second job.” Good luck with that Flavio.

To be fair to Catteneo he does seem to have made a good start on the slash-and-burn strategy he was brought in to implement. TIM’s EBITDA is expected to head into the black for the first time in 13 years, with significantly lowered overheads one of the main reasons. Of course handing over slightly less than €40m to the CEO would also help but no doubt he’s worth it.

because im worth it


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