Vittorio Colao, the former CEO of Vodafone Group, has been appointed as Italy’s minister for technological innovation and digital transition.
Colao joins the cabinet of newly appointed prime minister Mario Draghi, the ex-European Central Bank head who has swept in to calm a country in political chaos following the resignation of Guiseppe Conte. Conte’s coalition government broke down after the reveal of his coronavirus relief spending plan.
Seen as a safe pair of hands following a career in banking and 20 years at Vodafone, Colao is viewed as something of a safe pair of hands to ensure digital technologies in ‘phase 2’ of Italy’s pandemic recovery.
In this recovery, Colao will be tasked with ensuring the widespread rollout of fibre across the whole country which has historically struggled to maintain implementation of new communications technologies. Hard-to-reach areas will be supported by alternatives such as satellite and fixed wireless access.
Part of Colao’s remit will also be to facilitate Italy’s cashless transformation. The country ranks towards the bottom of the EU 27’s member states when it comes to cash vs cashless, with 85% of all transactions in Italy still being made with physical cash.
While Draghi will hope that Colao can contribute to stability, this is the third administration in less than three years. The government will face votes of confidence in both houses of parliament on February 15-16.