Telecom Italia SpA, Italy’s biggest phone company, hired a former executive at pasta-maker Barilla Holding SpA as its head of personnel, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Mario Di Loreto, 50, will take the position of human resources and organization chief as of Sept. 1, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Di Loreto, who held the same role at Barilla, one of Italy’s most well-known food companies, will replace 54-year-old Antonio Migliardi, who resigned consensually after a five-year mandate, one of the people said.
Telecom Italia employed more than 82,000 workers as of June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Di Loreto will oversee the reduction of about 2,750 positions, or 5 percent of the Milan-based company’s domestic workforce, after a March agreement with unions in exchange for waiting a year before Telecom Italia disposes of any call-center operations.
The personnel role will also be crucial for the success of any asset spinoff. In May, Telecom Italia directors approved a plan to separate the company’s fixed-line network. The move, setting a precedent for Europe’s indebted carriers as they look for ways to raise funds and bargain for lighter regulations, would involve transferring as many as 20,000 positions.
A Telecom Italia spokesman, who asked not to be named citing company policy, declined to comment on the appointment.
Telecom Italia shares rose 0.4 percent to 47.7 euro cents at 12:39 p.m. in Milan. The stock has fallen 30 percent this year, cutting the company’s market value to 8.7 billion euros ($11.6 billion).
Telecom Italia employees’ productivity lags behind Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB and Royal KPN NV of the Netherlands. Revenue per worker last year was about 355,000 euros, compared with 433,000 euros for TeliaSonera and 474,000 euros for KPN, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It beats Orange SA’s 255,000 euros and 250,000 euros for Deutsche Telekom AG.
Spain’s Telefonica SA, by selling its call-center unit with more than 150,000 employees, doubled its sales per worker to 468,000 euros in 2012, the data showed. Telefonica is the single largest shareholder of Telecom Italia.
Unlike their peers in the U.S., European phone companies serve more fragmented markets and governments often balk at firings. Many have held back large-scale layoffs and have turned to asset sales and dividend cuts to bolster finances.
European carriers will probably cut their workforce by 30 percent -- more than 300,000 jobs -- over the next five years, according to an April estimate by the UNI Europa ICTS union, which represents telecom employees in 27 countries.
Di Loreto graduated with a degree in philosophy at the University of Rome in 1989 and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy of science. His previous employers include Alitalia SpA and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.