LONDON --- Pasquale Pistorio, former president and CEO of STMicroelectronics, is being lined up as the next chairman of Telecom Italia according to reports in the Italian media following the resignation over the weekend of Guido Rossi.
The largest shareholder in the national communications carrier, tyre and optical communications group Pirelli, said last week that it wanted to replace Rossi and left his name off a list of potential new board members. Though he tried to remain, it became obvious the board lost confidence in Mr Rossi, and he resigned before being sacked.
The resignation comes as Pirelli is trying again to sell all or part of its controlling stake after several previous efforts had stumbled. It also emerged last week that it is in exclusive negotiations until the end of the month with AT&T of the US and América Móvil of Mexico.
The move comes after months of industrial, political and legal infighting over the future ownership of Italy's dominant carrier. Telecom Italia announced a controversial restructuring plan in September last year which put it in dispute with the government of Romano Prodi over the possible sale of important assets.
Pirelli owns 80 per cent of a holding company called Olimpia which has just 18 per cent of Telecom Italia shares but controls the telecoms company by nominating the vast majority of its board.
Olimpia's other shareholder is the Benetton family.
Executives at Pirelli have been critical of what analysts regard as a lackluster three-year strategy plan presented to investors by Mr Rossi and Telecom Italia executives last month.
Reports suggest efforts will be renewed next week to find more Italian partners to join in a potential deal with AT&T and América Móvil. The aim is to include enough Italian interest to allay political opposition to foreign entrants in Telecom Italia.
Pistorio has taken on several non-executive positions since leaving STMicroelectronics two years ago. For instance, he has joined the board of Accent Spa, an Italian design services company and intellectual property licensor formed by STMicroelectronics NV and Cadence Design Systems Inc., as well as of Singaporean foundry Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.
ST also named Pistorio "Honorary Chairman" in March 2005 when he gave up the reins at the chip maker.