TIM bins CEO despite overseeing ‘major and extraordinary turnaround’

TIM has officially parted ways with its CEO Flavio Cattaneo, with forced smiles and uncomfortably firm handshakes.

It was just going to be a matter of time, as even prior to the release of a statement outlining discussions for mutual termination, the friction was beginning to show. Rumours and reports leaking out the of the TIM boardroom painted a picture of frustration and disagreement, as it would appear Vivendi sought greater influence over TIM strategies, while Cattaneo proved to be less of a puppet than some might have assumed.

Cattaneo was one of the more unusual appointments to CEO in recent years, considering he had no direct experience in telco management. Some sceptics might have come to the conclusion he was there to perform the bidding of Vivendi CEO (and also TIM Executive Chairman) Arnaud Roy de Puyfontaine and the other Vivendi influencers on the Board of Directors.

As a stake holder which only controls 24.9% of TIM, Vivendi would appear to exerting a considerable amount of influence. Some might say an unproportionable amount, but the boresome bureaucrats in Brussels are happy with it, so it’s not going to change any time soon.

And as expected, the departure was accompanied by a eulogy of compliments and back-patting. According to the statement, h           e could be considering one of the most successful CEOs TIM has ever seen which just goes to show how much of a joke such statements are. The statement read:

“The company thanks Mr Flavio Cattaneo for the major task he undertook. It is universally recognised that such a recovery has never before been seen, making it the first among the major telecommunications companies that were formerly incumbent in Europe and the US, in terms of speed of growth of all main top line drivers, and of profitability, as well achieving the greatest coverage in fibre.”

How PR buffoons can consider putting together such an account hours after they have fired the man is truly baffling.

Despite this saga being quite a strange one, it would be good not to forget that Cattaneo is an exceptionally talented manager. Cattaneo has led numerous businesses to unprecedented fortunes, and in 2010, he was nominated for the award of ‘Best Italian Manager’. This is one of the few tarnishes on his CV, and this might be down to the self-destructive nature of some corners of the telco industry than his personal approach.

Still, Cattaneo will walk away with € 22.9 million, so we’re pretty sure he’ll get over this brief nightmare pretty quickly.

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