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Vivendi urges Telecom Italia to fill vacant board seat

Telecom Italia’s top investor Vivendi is calling for Italian telecoms lobby head Massimo Sarmi to be appointed to fill a vacant seat on the former phone monopoly’s board, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

The board seat has been empty since late September, when Renault boss Luca de Meo resigned as an independent director at the former phone monopoly to focus on the turnaround plan of the French carmaker.

Vivendi and Telecom Italia declined to comment.

The sources cited a letter to Telecom Italia’s chairman Salvatore Rossi in which the French group calls for a quick appointment of a new director.

The issue could be a topic of discussion when the TIM board meets on Nov.9, although a formal agenda for the meeting is still to be issued, other sources said, cautioning deliberations are ongoing.

French media conglomerate Vivendi has clashed with Rossi, a former Bank of Italy official, over corporate governance issues on a number of occasions. Sources have previously said that Vivendi sees Sarmi as a potential replacement for Rossi.

Sarmi, 74, is currently also the chairman of Telecom Italia’s last-mile network unit FiberCop and is a former boss of Poste Italiane.

Telecom Italia directors will meet next Wednesday to approve the debt-laden group’s third quarter results. A company-provided analyst consensus points to a 12% drop for group core profit.

TIM’s board is also expected to kick-off the process to select a minority partner for its enterprise service arm.

Vivendi holds a 24% stake in TIM. Treasury-owned state lender CDP is TIM second largest investor with a 10% stake. Reuters

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