Italian operator confirms Amos Genish as its new chief executive, clarifies executive chairman Arnaud de Puyfontaine’s responsibilities, and hands control of TI Sparkle to deputy chair Giuseppe Recchi

TIM on Thursday, as expected, named Amos Genish as its new chief executive officer, and shared other outcomes from its board meeting, including updated governance and procedures that take account of the Consob control ruling and a vote in favour of a joint venture between the telco and Vivendi’s Canal+ business.

Genish has been serving as general manager for operations at TIM since July when the telco parted company with former CEO Flavio Cattaneo.

He joined TIM from major shareholder Vivendi, where he had served as chief convergence officer since the start of the year.

Speaking of convergence, TIM’s board of directors also approved in principle the creation of a joint venture between TIM and Vivendi’s content producer and TV company Canal+

The move will "enable a major acceleration of the plans for telecoms-media convergence," TIM said, in a statement. The JV will focus on content production, Italian and international, and on the acquisition of content rights, including sports rights, it said.

The telco’s board will discuss the JV again at a future date before giving a final approval, having taken advice on the terms and conditions, and the regulatory implications of the deal.

Genish founded Brazilian fixed broadband and TV provider GVT, which he sold to Vivendi in 2009. He was still serving as the telco’s CEO when Vivendi agreed to sell it to Telefonica in 2014. After the deal closed, Genish became CEO of Telefonica Brasil, but resigned that position in October 2016.

He takes the top job at TIM at a crucial time. The telco is currently fighting a legal battle in Italy regarding the influence Vivendi exercises over its operations. Earlier this month regulator Consob ruled that Vivendi has de facto control of TIM, since it has sufficient voting power to control the telco’s board and the direction of its shareholder meetings.

At Thursday’s meeting, the TIM board updated procedure for transactions with related parties to take account of the Consob ruling.

Following the ruling, the Italian government could levy a fine on the company for failing to comply with regulations covering a change of control at the telco. There has also been talk of enforced asset sales, with particular reference to international carrier Telecom Italia Sparkle, which is considered a strategic asset because of its infrastructure.

At the meeting TIM conferred responsibility for Sparkle onto deputy chairman Giuseppe Recchi.

Specifically, Recchi will have organisational responsibility for TIM’s security department, which includes "overseeing all activities and assets that are relevant for security and national defence purposes inside TIM and the other Italian companies in the group (in particular: TI Sparkle and Telsy)," TIM said. Telsy is an ICT security solutions and services provider for government and corporate customers.

The meeting also set out new governance arrangements for TIM.

As such, executive chairman de Puyfontaine will identify guidelines for the development of TIM, as well as supervising the delivery of its strategic, industrial and financial plans. He will supervise its organisational arrangements, including legal affairs, and is charged with representing the company in external relations with public authorities, institutions and investors.

However, responsibility for brand strategy and media is transferred from de Puyfontaine to Genish.

Genish also has responsibility for the overall governance of the company, including responsibility for defining strategic and financial plans, proposing them to the board, and implementing and developing them.

He also takes responsibility "for defining the policies and all organisational responsibilities to guarantee the management and development of the business in Italy and in South America," TIM said.