Generali has fired executive Luciano Cirina, who is challenging incumbent Philippe Donnet for the role of chief executive, with immediate effect for alleged breach of contract, Italy’s largest insurer said on Monday.
Cirina, who was Generali’s head of Austria and CEE countries, has been proposed by a leading shareholder in the group for the top job in a power struggle which will be put to a shareholder vote on April 29.
“The decision has been taken due to violations of his duty of loyalty and material breach of other personal obligations under his contract of employment,” Generali said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment from Cirina.
Generali had suspended Cirina last week and he then presented his alternative plans for the insurer at a news conference in Milan on Friday, along with Claudio Costamagna, the rebel shareholder’s candidate to chair the group.
Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone, who owns more than 9 percent of Generali, wants to replace Frenchman Donnet, who has been CEO since 2016, and install Cirina in his place.
Caltagirone’s camp set out their stall on Friday with a plan dubbed “Awakening the Lion,” a reference to Generali’s nickname “The Lion of Trieste,” which features on its logo. They want to boost earnings growth and do bigger M&A deals.
The Generali board has proposed Donnet for a third term.
Generali shares rose 4 percent on Monday to their highest level in more than a decade.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Valentina Za and Alexander Smith)