• Italian Premier expected to pick new minister later this month
  • Moretti has been at head of the defense company for two years

Mauro Moretti, chief executive officer of Italian defense company Finmeccanica SpA, is in the running for the post of Italy’s industry minister, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is expected to appoint a successor this month to replace Federica Guidi, who resigned over an alleged conflict of interest on March 31. Moretti is being considered along with other candidates, according to the people, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly on the appointment process.

Moretti, who was appointed CEO of Italy’s second-largest manufacturer in 2014, has streamlined Finmeccanica, selling assets and shifting the group to a tighter-knit divisional structure. The Rome-based group obtained its largest contract ever earlier this month after closing a deal to sell Kuwait 28 Eurofighter jets.

Renzi and Moretti enjoy a relationship of trust, said one of the people. Moretti still has one year left of his mandate at Finmeccanica and likes to complete projects, the person said, adding that Moretti would feel safe about leaving since all of the company’s top management was appointed by him.

Moretti took part in several foreign trade missions with Guidi and could move into government after launching a structural revamp at Finmeccanica that included the sale of its rail business, according to a second person.

All said that Renzi is still making up his mind and that an appointment may come in the next few weeks. Among others Renzi is considering, they said, were Claudio De Vincenti, a cabinet undersecretary, and Teresa Bellanova, deputy industry minister.

Spokesmen for Renzi, the industry ministry and Finmeccanica declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

Guidi stepped down after the leak of telephone conversations which prompted accusations that her partner exploited her position in power. Guidi, who has helped spearhead the sale of distinctive brands such as Pirelli and Loro Piana to foreign investors, wrote in an open letter to Renzi that she was "absolutely certain of my good faith and the correctness of my actions."

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