(Reuters) – Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone, the second biggest shareholder of Assicurazioni Generali, has quit its board of directors, the Italian insurer said on Friday, opening a new chapter in a long-running shareholder dispute.
Mr Caltagirone holds a 9.95 per cent stake in Generali, having boosted his stake in recent years as tensions mounted between the construction mogul and the press on the one hand, and the company’s board of directors. insurer and its largest investor, Mediobanca, on the other.
Shares in Generali fell more than 2% after the news, underperforming a flat blue chip Italian index as investors feared Mr Caltagirone could cut his stake.
However, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters the stake remained strategic and Mr Caltagirone had no intention of selling it.
Earlier this year, Mr Caltagirone challenged the Generali board’s decision to secure a third term for CEO Philippe Donnet, but his bid to nominate his own CEO candidate was defeated in a shareholder vote. last month.
Mr Caltagirone secured three board seats for his slate of candidates at the April 29 general meeting and had held one.
Generali said he would call a board meeting in the coming days to make a decision on Mr Caltagirone’s replacement, adding that the reasons for his decision were not known.
A person familiar with the matter said Mr Caltagirone informed Generali of his decision in a letter on Friday.
Mr Caltagirone quit Generali’s former board in January before proposing a rival to Mr Donnet for the top job.