Generali’s appointments committee recommended that the board finalize a slate of nominees for its renewal keeping Philippe Donnet as CEO for another term, three sources close to the situation told Reuters on Friday.
Generali’s board meets on Monday to discuss whether to submit its own slate of nominees, including Donnet, ahead of a general meeting next spring to name new directors. Donnet has come under pressure from some major shareholders who are critical of his strategy.
The resolution of the appointments committee, which came at a meeting attended by representatives of Generali’s main shareholders, was taken by a majority vote, the sources added. One of the sources said there were four votes in favor of Donnet out of seven.
Construction magnate Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone, eyewear billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio and charity organization Fondazione CRT, who control a combined 12.5% of Generali, in recent weeks struck a shareholder pact to consult over decisions concerning Generali.
Caltagirone, 78, and Del Vecchio, 86, consider Donnet’s M&A strategy insufficiently ambitious and want to replace him, sources have previously said.
Donnet has the backing of Alberto Nagel, CEO of Mediobanca , Italy’s top investment bank and the main Generali investor, with 17% of voting rights.
In a move that could potentially give them more clout over Generali, both Del Vecchio and Caltagirone have built stakes in Mediobanca.
If Generali’s board decides on Monday to submit its own slate of nominees which includes Donnet as CEO, the two tycoons are ready to file a separate list with an alternative CEO candidate, sources said earlier this month.
Italy’s Benetton family, which owns 4% of Generali but has no representatives on its board, has yet to take sides. Del Vecchio and Caltagirone will also have to contend with institutional investors, which own around 40% of Generali, Europe’s third-largest insurer.
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Claudia Cristoferi in Milan Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Matthew Lewis)