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Italy State Firms May Get New Leaders in Renzi Shake-Ups

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi, Italy's incoming prime minister, speaks during a news conference to announce the names of the cabinet ministers that will form Italy's new government at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, Italy, on Feb. 21, 2014. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will probably replace directors and chief executive officers at state-controlled companies in the coming weeks, an aide said.

“I expect discontinuity,” Filippo Taddei, economic-policy chief at Renzi’s Democratic Party, said in an interview yesterday. “Everyone understands and expects some change in attitude there, and I’m pretty sure Renzi will speak to this promise.” Taddei said he isn’t directly involved in the selection process.

Renzi, starting next month, may begin naming new leaders at public companies where management contracts are expiring. These include Eni SpA, Enel SpA and Finmeccanica SpA, as well as at firms without stock-market listings, such as the postal service and the passenger railway. The 39-year-old prime minister, who came to power last week, must replace or extend the contracts of about 350 directors and managers.

The appointments have three-year terms at Rome-based Eni, Europe’s fourth-largest oil company, and Enel, Italy’s biggest power producer. Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni and Enel CEO Fulvio Conti were both appointed to their current posts in 2005 under the government of then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. On Feb. 14, Scaroni said he was available for another mandate.

Renzi rose to prominence in Italy with the nickname “Demolition Man” for his willingness to criticize established powers and his campaign for generational change in politics.

“What I like about Renzi is that he has the will to do things and he wants to do them quickly,” Scaroni said Feb. 14 in a Bloomberg Television interview. “He really wants to reform the country.”

Headhunters Spencer Stuart Inc. and Korn/Ferry Inernational were hired by Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni to help. A panel of former and current top civil servants is giving non-binding opinions on the candidates.

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