Descalzi, Starace Nominated for Eni, Enel in Shakeup

The Italian government nominated new chief executives at the three largest state-controlled companies, Eni SpA, Enel SpA and Finmeccanica SpA.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi chose internal candidates for the Eni and Enel top jobs, proposing Claudio Descalzi as CEO of Italy’s biggest oil company and Francesco Starace, head of Enel’s renewable energy unit, as CEO of the country’s top power producer, according to a government official who asked not to be identified because of internal policy.

Three women were proposed as chairmen of Eni, Enel and state postal company Poste Italiane SpA. Emma Marcegaglia, former head of the Italian employers’ lobby Confindustria, was nominated as Eni’s chairman, while Patrizia Grieco was proposed for the equivalent position at Enel, according to the government official.

Renzi is the first center-left politician to propose candidates for Italy’s top company posts after the previous three lists were prepared by then-Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s governments. The choices announced yesterday represent a key part in Renzi’s promise to bring new management into public administration and state-controlled businesses, as well as put more women in executive positions.

Finmeccanica Nominees

Italy’s Finance Ministry proposed Mauro Moretti, currently head of the country’s railways, as CEO of defense and aerospace company Finmeccanica SpA and Gianni De Gennaro as chairman. The ministry announced the nominees for the companies’ boards yesterday in a statement, although it didn’t specify for which positions.

Eni, Enel and Finmeccanica combined represent 107 billion euros ($148 billion) in market value, and account for one quarter of the country’s FTSE MIB benchmark stock index.

Eni shares fell 0.4 percent at 9.49 a.m. in Milan, while Enel dropped 0.5 percent and Finmeccanica was down 2.7 percent.

Shareholders of the companies must confirm the nominees for three-year terms. The Finance Ministry is the biggest shareholder in all three, with direct and indirect stakes of 30 percent in Eni, 31 percent in Enel and 32 percent in Finmeccanica, according to the website of market regulator Consob.

Luisa Todini was nominated as chairman of Poste Italiane, while Francesco Caio was proposed as CEO, replacing Massimo Sarmi.

Libya, Nigeria

Descalzi, 59, rose through the ranks at Eni after starting his career as an engineer and then project manager for the company in the North Sea, Libya, Nigeria and Congo. During his time as head of E&P, Descalzi oversaw large finds in Brazil and Mozambique and brokered deals in Kazakhstan and Russia that helped make Eni Europe’s fourth-biggest oil company.

In Mozambique, Eni and partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. found more than 100 trillion cubic feet of gas off the coast, enough fuel to build the world’s second-biggest natural gas plant.

Starace, 58, has been head of Enel’s renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power since 2010. In November 2010 Starace listed Enel Green on the Milan stock exchange, undertaking what was then Europe’s largest IPO in three years.

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