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Chairman could temporarily step down during TIM strategy debate

Arnaud de Puyfontaine could temporarily step down as Telecom Italia (TIM) chairman for the duration of a debate about the future strategic direction of the telco, according to a Reuters report.

Arnaud de Puyfontaine

The move follows the entry of US-based activist investor Elliott Management into Telecom Italia’s shareholders with a small stake. Elliott has contested Vivendi’s strategy and called for changes in the company’s board.

According to Reuters, De Puyfontaine has signaled his willingness to suspend his functions at Telecom Italia to facilitate the discussion. Vivendi, which has a 24% stake in the Italian operator, will study any initiative that gains the support of shareholders, according to the company.

The latest movies follow the unveiling of Telecom Italia’s 2020 strategic plan, which calls for an expansion in the subscriber base of on-demand TV service TIMVision, an increase in its fixed broadband base and growth in LTE mobile penetration. The company wants to double its fixed-mobile convergent subscriber base.

The company is in the process of separating its fixed-access infrastructure arm to meet the demands of the Italian government, which triggered its ‘golden power’ to intervene in cases involving strategic national assets following Vivendi’s taking control of the operator.