TIM reportedly set to install Vivendi man as CEO – now there’s a shock

The farce that is Vivendi’s control over Italian operator TIM despite being a minority shareholder looks set to take an inevitable turn with its third CEO in two years.

Reuters has inside sources that claim TIM will appoint Vivendi’s Chief Convergence Officer – Amos Genish – as its new CEO, following the departure of Flavio Cattaneo a couple of months ago. It’s the latest chapter in a saga that has seem Vivendi appear to assume total control over TIM despite owning less than a quarter of its shares.

Cattaneo had only been appointed in 2016 following the resignation of Marco Patuano, who had apparently been in dispute with Vivendi. The assumption was that Cattaneo had been a Vivendi-approved candidate but it seemed even he wasn’t compliant enough for the French conglomerate’s liking. TIM shareholders have handed over almost €30 million in compensation to Patuano and Cattaneo.

Genish has been involved in the running of TIM since Cattaneo was shown the door. He joined Vivendi at the start of this year, having previously been CEO of Telefónica Brazil. He did have a prior relationship with Vivendi, however, having been CEO of GVT when it was owned by Vivendi.

If Genish is appointed by a TIM board that is dominated by Vivendi, that will call TIM’s autonomy further into question. The Italian regulator has already said it thinks Vivendi has de facto control, although it remains unclear what, if anything, it’s going to do about it. All this talk would go away if Vivendi just paid up for a majority stake in TIM, but the current acquisition on the cheap approach leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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