Cesare Geronzi quit as chairman of Generali, yesterday, after clashing with directors, sources close to the situation said, Mediafax informs, quoting Reuters. Geronzi, a 76-year-old former banker appointed less than a year ago at the helm of Europe’s third-largest insurer, was facing a no-confidence motion from 10 or 11 directors at an extraordinary board meeting called to discuss his powers, the sources said on Wednesday. His exit from Italy’s number one insurer could mark the end of an era for the controversial Geronzi, who has led large banks such as Capitalia and Mediobanca in the past. The news triggered a 5-percent rally in Generali shares, which had lagged peers largely because of what analysts said was Geronzi’s excessive meddling in company strategy despite his non-executive role.
“It is certainly a big step forward because of the problem of governance and it can clarify communications inside the company and with shareholders. It is important,” Azimut fund manager Stefano Mach said.
Generali board member Diego Della Valle, the Tod’s shoe company owner, had openly attacked Geronzi, saying his reliance on personal connections to wield power over the insurer had had its day. And Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of eyewear group Luxottica who is sitting on a 350 million euros loss on his 1.9 percent stake in Generali, quit the board in February citing his inability to influence its strategy.