Sources say head of network wants away
Telecom Italia (TIM) network head Stefano Siragusa is expected to leave his post in Autumn, according to sources at news agency Reuters. The defection that could weaken the phone group’s team as tackles a tough restructuring exercise that involves splitting the former monopolist into two independent units of service and infrastructure.
In June TIM CEO Pietro Labriola voiced his frustration at delays to his plan to split the telco’s landline network from its service operations. The goal is to maximise asset value for all shareholders and cut its debt, but shareholder opposition and counter offers have distracted those who need to get behind the move.
Labriola’s attempts to make everyone pull in the same direction could be further undermined by the departure of Siragusa, who joined TIM as chief infrastructure officer in 2018. Siragusa has been at odds over strategy with Labriola, who was promoted to the top spot after impressing as the head of TIM’s Brazilian operation. Labriola is an infrastructure engineer by trade and the company’s fifth CEO in six years. The future of Siragusa at TIM and his frustrations are still under discussion, according to Reuters’ sources.
In a statement TIM said it had not made any announcements on the matter at this time and rejected all “allusions about exits dictated by disagreements with the company’s strategic line”. The bottom line is that it is pressing ahead with its strategy, TIM said.
TIM is under pressure from keen price competition. Italian regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom) has disclosed that aggressive newcomer Iliad has been taking customers away from both (TIM) and its rivals Vodafone and WindTre. Iliad’s current SIM-count of 9 million customers gives it a positive growth of 1.6% while the former monopolist operator TIM has seen subscriber numbers decline.
Labriola wants to revamp TIM’s business by breaking up its operations and merging its network assets with rival Open Fiber, which it is already combining with on infrastructure building contracts. This pooling of resources would save €1 billion between now and 2024, TIM has claimed.
Siragusa’s departure is the last thing TIM needs as Labriola struggles to galvanise the telco into making the tough decisions. The project is further threatened, Reuters claimed, by the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s coalition government earlier this month.