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Italy's Benettons name new holding company chairman in motorway tussle with govt

11/22/2020 | 02:30pm

ROME, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Italy's Benetton family has ousted Gianni Mion as head of its holding company Edizione, replacing him with well-connected business professor Enrico Laghi, the company said on Sunday, as it tries to solve a long-running dispute over its motorway unit.

The wealthy family, which owns 30% of infrastructure group Atlantia, has been embroiled in a feud with the Italian government since a bridge in Genoa managed by Atlantia's motorway operator Autostrade per l'Italia, collapsed in 2018, killing 43 people.

Laghi will supervise Edizione in its ties with the companies it invests in including Atlantia - which controls Autostrade - Autogrill, and others.

His appointment will be formally approved by an Edizione shareholders' meeting by Nov. 30, the company said in a statement.

Mion was reappointed last July to serve a three-year term as Edizione chairman, but relations between the family and their veteran advisor have soured as negotiations with the government over the future of Autostrade have struggled to make progress.

Rome has been threatening to revoke Autostrade's licence since the bridge disaster and has put the Benettons under pressure to sell their stake in the unit to make room for state-backed investor Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

Laghi, who once served as temporary administrator for ailing national airline Alitalia and has strong links with CDP, could help to broker a deal, sources told Reuters on Saturday.

Talks between Atlantia and a consortium of investors led by CDP have dragged on for weeks, and were complicated this month when Atlantia's and Autostrade's former chief Giovanni Castellucci was put under house arrest in an investigation linked to the Genoa disaster. (Reporting by Gavin Jones, editing by Francesca Landini and Barbara Lewis)

© Reuters 2021
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