De Benedetti reasserts grip on Olivetti

Carlo De Benedetti last night reasserted his grip on the crisis-hit Olivetti computer and media group, as one of his key lieutenants replaced Francesco Caio as chief executive.

Roberto Colaninno, managing director of Sogefi, the automotive group controlled by Mr De Benedetti's CIR industrial holding company, is succeeding Mr Caio, who quit after a lengthy and reportedly acrimonious emergency board meeting yesterday. Mr Caio had only been chief executive for two months.

A spokesman for Olivetti said Mr Caio resigned because of the failure to agree on the powers that the company's four-man executive committee should have. The committee was formed a fortnight ago after the company was rocked by shock allegations that Olivetti had disguised the extent of its first-half losses. Olivetti's shares have fallen 40 per cent this month, and have been described by one trader as being akin to "toxic waste".

This latest twist means that Mr De Benedetti, a big shareholder in Olivetti, has two staunch allies on the executive committee. Besides Mr Colaninno, the committee includes Rodolfo De Benedetti, son of Mr De Benedetti who resigned as chairman two weeks ago.

Antonio Tesone, who was drafted in to replace Mr De Benedetti as chairman, publicly endorsed the appointment of Mr Colaninno. "The results obtained as managing director of the Sogefi group, the international experience that he has matured and the human qualities and the stability I know him to be endowed with made him the ideal candidate," he said.

The powers of the executive committee were finally agreed after Mr Caio's resignation, but have yet to be detailed. However, Mr Tesone said the committee had agreed to take legal action against Renzo Francesconi, whose public questioning of the accuracy of Olivetti's half-year results brought the crisis to a head.

Mr Francesconi resigned as director-general a day after Mr De Benedetti quit.

Mr Tesone said last night that lawyers had been instructed to sue Mr Francesconi "for his groundless declarations and his irresponsible behaviour".

It also emerged yesterday that the reported first-half loss of 440bn lire included a capital gain of 64bn lire on the sale of part of Olivetti's stake in the British computer group Acorn.

Olivetti sold 13.25 million shares in Acorn, representing just under 15 per cent of the company, to the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in July. Yesterday Olivetti said that the 64bn lire was deposited with Lehman and would be paid over in stages as the shares were placed in the market.

Lehman was lead manager on Olivetti's pounds 913m rescue rights issue last December which resulted in several London-based investors emerging with a stake of 30-40 per cent in Olivetti.

The investors, which include ING Barings Asset Management and PDFM, played a big part in Mr De Benedetti's removal after 18 years at the helm of Olivetti.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn