Vivendi has relinquished its control over Telecom Italia (TIM)’s board as seven of its nominated directors resigned.
The departures include Executive Chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Hervé Philippe and Frédéric Crépin, who are CEO, CFO and General Counsel respectively at Vivendi.
Also leaving are Vivendi-nominated directors Camilla Antonini, Félicité Herzog, Marella Moretti and Anna Jones. Amos Genish, TIM’s CEO who joined from the French media group last year, will remain in his position.
The departing Directors said they hoped the move would “clarify and provide certainty” about the company’s governance.
A new board will be appointed at a meeting of shareholders on 4 May, with the resignations effective from 24 April.
The move comes after activist investor firm Elliott Management launched an effort to unseat Vivendi’s representatives from the operator’s board last week.
The firm sent an open letter to TIM shareholders calling for six representatives to be replaced, including de Puyfontaine, Philippe and Crépin.
In their place, Elliott proposed a team of executives from the financial sector, including former TIM CFO Fulvio Conti.
Elliott Management said it believes TIM “is uniquely positioned in the Italian market and operates an outstanding collection of assets that, if properly managed, should produce substantial, consistent returns for its shareholders while providing a vital, high-quality public service”.
It accused the current Vivendi-controlled board of “poor stewardship” which had resulted in “deeply troubling corporate governance issues, a valuation discount and strategic failures”.
Vivendi owns just shy of 24 percent of TIM and was confirmed as having de facto control over the operator by Italy's regulator last September.