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Invisible democracy hits Italian board slate

Investment bank Mediobanca is said to have reached a unanimous agreement on the Assicurazioni Generali board list which will include a new chairman for Europe’s third biggest insurer.

Generali is, as the FT puts it “arguably Italy’s most important financial institution” and Mediobanca “did not even bother to announce formally its nominees for the top positions and board of Generali. Instead, last Friday it leaked out the 19 names: a move indicative of the bank’s level of respect for the other 85 per cent of shareholders in Europe’s third largest insurer.”

Could Italy’s tardy adoption of the Shareholder Rights Directive be linked to this behind the scenes power play? We’ll never know. So that’s good news for 15% insider Mediobanca which knows exactly who it’s going to be voting for. Pity the poor non-resident shareholder which has to submit its ballots before the official List has been published for the April 24 AGM. The current custodian bank imposed deadline for submitting votes at that meeting is April 7th. The last legal publication date for the List is April 11th. At the time of writing, no List has been made available on the company’s website.

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