Telecom Italia has reportedly hired Mario Di Loreto from Italian food company Barilla to head its personnel department.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg says Di Loreto will take up his new position at the beginning of September, replacing Antonio Migliardi, who is resigning after five years in the job.
According to the report, the appointment will be critical to the success of the Italian incumbent’s plan to spin off its fixed-line network, which is set to involve the transfer of some 20,000 employees.
The operator has already won regulatory backing for the scheme, which it hopes will allow it to slash borrowings and raise funds for investment in the rollout of next-generation networks.
It should also go some way towards addressing regulatory concerns about Telecom Italia’s dominant position in the Italian market.
Besides being involved in the network spin-off, Di Loreto will also have oversight of ongoing redundancy programs.
In March, the operator was reported to have reached an agreement with unions to cut 3,350 jobs in exchange for agreeing not to shut down any of its call-center operations for at least a year.
Like Europe’s other telecoms incumbents, Telecom Italia (Milan, Italy) is being squeezed by a mixture of competitive, economic and regulatory pressure, and has run up substantial debts to fund network build-out and acquisition activity.
For the first half of 2013, it swung to a net loss of €1.4 billion ($1.86 billion), compared with a net profit of €1.2 billion for the same period of 2012, due to goodwill write-downs, and reported a 2.7% organic decline in revenues, to €13.76 billion, over the same period.
Moreover, according to Bloomberg, the operator is less productive than some of its peers on the basis of revenue generated per employee.
Last year, revenue per staff member was about €355,000 at Telecom Italia, compared with €468,000 at Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) and 433,000 at TeliaSonera (Stockholm, Sweden).
Nevertheless, Telecom Italia beat Orange (Paris, France) and Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany), which generated €255,000 and €250,000 respectively, according to Bloomberg data.