Italy Nominates Eni CEO Descalzi for Second Term
By Eric Sylvers and Giovanni Legorano
ROME -- The Italian government on Saturday made a series of nominations for the top management of large listed companies it controls, including confirming the chief executive of oil major Eni SpA for a second three-year term.
Claudio Descalzi will stay on at Eni after steering the company through a period of low oil prices that battered the company's bottom line and led it to several multibillion-euro loses.
The executive has won plaudits from analysts and government officials for continuing the company's exploration success, which helped temper the economic effects of the 50% drop in the price of crude oil in the six months after he took over and the continued weak prices that followed.
Mr. Descalzi and the other nominees, including a new executive to lead defense company Leonardo SpA, must be confirmed by shareholders, but the government's large stakes ensure that is a formality.
The government owns a third of Eni, which provides the country's coffers with about EUR3 billion in annual dividend payments.
The nomination process at Italy's state controlled companies is the subject of venomous debates because of their size and importance -- together they make up around one-third of the Italian stock market.