The moment of truth on the appointments: Elisabetta Belloni checks for Leonardo

The moment of truth on the appointments: Elisabetta Belloni checks for Leonardo
The moment of truth on the appointments: Elisabetta Belloni checks for Leonardo

Dear Director, the power of the unknown. In the great game of nominations there is a draft that blows constantly and over which hovers a stone guest who for the general public is a Carneades. It’s Massimo Menchini, with bow tie and suspenders as required, he holds the role of director of Institutional Affairs of Assogestioni, the Italian association that represents the interests of asset management companies. In the name and on behalf of his associates, he “indicates” the inclusion of directors in the companies in which they hold a stake. It is probable that he places more than Berlusconi and Salvini, perhaps even more than Meloni. There are Boards of the Eni type, in which he places as many as five directors. But this placement to some funds and above all to many head hunter companies makes one turn up one’s nose because, on some occasions, the choices have not proved adequate enough to raise protests against the president of Assogestioni, Carlo Trabattoni and, above all, the director general, Fabio Galli, both notoriously recognized as always authoritative and equidistant. There are also five representatives of Assogestioni on Tim’s board of directors. But that council, whose meetings now last on average from eight to ten hours, is now a boat without a helmsman sailing in a stormy sea and, as if that weren’t enough, with the Minister of Economic Development Adolfo Urso who, at least until today , many say it only moved the waves.

Some observers perhaps prefer not to see what is the real convergence of interests underway that risks sending the Italian telecommunications giant definitively into a tailspin: it is the one between Tim Pietro Labriola’s CEO who is paired with Dario Scannapieco of CdP, increasingly close to an early exit. The goal of both is therefore to buy enough time to at least reach the end of the mandate, i.e. in April 2024. Scannapieco needs time to avoid getting bogged down in the OpenFiber bankruptcy which will have to be recapitalised several times, and time is needed for Labriola who plausibly seeks , also perhaps through the influential advisor Marco Patuano, to sell, after breaking up Tim, the participation in a consortium in Brazil to return to lead it perhaps himself, given the excellent work previously done in the South American country. The clues were all there, but few wanted to see them, not even the French of Vivendi. Now, the strategy for 2023 seems to be to slow down the analysis of the offers received (that of Kkr and the subsequent one from Cdp with Macquarie) as far as possible, convene any meetings and thus arrive at next autumn, i.e. close to the natural end of the mandate.

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But if Tim cries, Leonardo, where Assogestioni’s directors are taking office, certainly isn’t laughing. The European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni is using all the weight of him in Brussels with Giorgia Meloni to avoid the outright dismissal of his protégé Alessandro Profumo, trying to make him remain, if not yet CEO, at least president. But if things go as they seem, Profumo will have his revenge: his probable successor Roberto Cingolani will make even him regret. The continued success of Roberto Cingolani, impervious to government changes, really has the mystery worthy of Stranger Things. However, before naming him, Meloni could have a chat with another woman, life senator Elena Cattaneo, who had attacked Cingolani, at the time when she was director of the Italian Institute of Technology, for having left the sum of 415 million euros without allocating it to research and continuing to receive 100 million each year while all the others (from Philosophy to Biomedicine) received 92 in 3 years. The eminent Italian scientist had branded the management of the former superminister Grillino as «mad rather than sensible of an institution that is a dewatering pump for public money» and added «we are talking about a scandal and a shame… we are the only in Europe to have an Institute of this type, one cannot continue to give money to friends of friends». Meanwhile Cingolani, after the clash with life senator Cattaneo in 2017, thought well of finding refuge under Renzi’s protective wing, becoming a regular guest at the Leopolda and having understood that the longer he remained as director of the IIT, the more the lack of results would have been evident. He then moved to Leonardo as Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, thanks to Alessandro Profumo, Gentiloni’s manager, who took him on roadshows to the palaces of power, at that time firmly in the hands of the grillini. First step, the undersecretary to the presidency Fraccaro who evaluated him for what he is: a visionary who enchants when he talks about super computers. From there he flies to Beppe Grillo, who falls in love with him and has him appointed minister of energy transition in the Draghi government.

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During his personal escalation towards ever more ambitious goals, it seemed that the scientist’s patron star had been dimmed by the war in Ukraine, when suddenly what was considered a “quiet” ministry found itself at the center of one of the biggest country’s energy crisis. But attending the ministry very little because, in his own words, “it even scared him”, he did not lose heart and in July 2022 presented an astonishing national energy plan full of fantastic numbers, useless ceilings on the price of gas – as later certified by the EU itself – and promises of works carried out at the speed of light such as the Piombino regasification terminal, which should have been ready by January 2023, but which is still not in operation today. The most attentive observers had predicted an energy disaster, but the Cingolani star continued to be kissed by luck and so, luckily for us and for him, we had a 22% drop in gas consumption and the warmest winter ever last two hundred years. Meloni Cingolani likes him too and, supporting another genius of the lamp in free circulation such as Minister Picetto Fratin, he appointed him as his adviser for energy while in Leonardo, where he returned to recover the old salary lost during his ministerial adventure, he has hired about a hundred people in his department, even if the results on the positive side of the income statement are not yet visible and who knows if they will ever be seen. A visionary in the world of armaments? A big gamble. Before giving him such an appointment, Prime Minister Meloni should remember the old Latin saying «Fortuna vitrea est: tum cum splendet, frangitur». Luck is like glass: as it may shine, it may break. But this time the splinters from a strategic company like Leonardo could deeply affect the government. Unless Meloni, too “smart”, as they say in Rome, does not aim to muddy the waters for a plan B. B like Elisabetta Belloni, she could be Leonardo’s new CEO. The perfect woman. Schlein would say: they didn’t see it coming.

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