Italian billionaire Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone has stepped down from the board of insurance giant Generali, following the collapse of his shareholder mutiny to oust the insurer’s management team.
The exit comes after Caltagirone put forward a shareholder resolution to block Generali’s incumbent chief executive, Philippe Donnet, from taking on a third term leading the firm.
The coup attempt came after Caltagirone – Generali’s second biggest shareholder – formed a pact with the firm’s third-biggest shareholder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, in an effort to battle the insurer’s biggest shareholder, Mediobanca, and oust Generali’s CEO.
In calling on the firm to up its earnings, by cutting costs and expanding through acquisitions, the activist investor led a campaign to oust Donnet and his allies, with a view to installing former Goldman Sachs banker Claudio Costamagna as chair and company veteran Luciano Cirina as chief executive.
However, the billionaire construction magnate has now stepped down from his board position after 56 per cent of shareholders voted to keep Donnet on board at Generali’s Apirl annual general meeting (AGM).
The resignation comes as the second time Caltagirone – who owns a 9.95 per cent stake in Italy’s biggest insurance company – has stepped down from Generali’s board this year, after the longstanding Generali shareholder previously left his boardroom position in January this year.
The collapse of Caltagirone’s coup attempt comes after Italian unions raised concerns about the impact on jobs of the billionaire’s cost savings plans.