TIM parts company with two CxOs amid another reshuffle

TIM has lost both its technology and its strategy chiefs and as a result is reshuffling job roles at what is starting to look like a time of growing chaos.

Mary Lennighan

December 8, 2021

4 Min Read

TIM has lost both its technology and its strategy chiefs and as a result is reshuffling job roles at what is starting to look like a time of growing chaos.

The Italian incumbent announced the departures of Chief Technology & Operations Officer Nicola Grassi and Chief Strategy, Business Development & Transformation Officer Carlo Nardello; we don’t know if they walked or were pushed, but the latter seems more likely given that they will receive a severance package. The announcement comes as TIM grapples with a high-profile €10.8 billion takeover bid from private equity firm KKR that cost former CEO Luigi Gubitosi his job, and follows last week’s departure of HR head Luciano Sale, by mutual consent.

With Grassi and Nardello hitting the road, TIM has undertaken a group reorganisation, less than six months after its last one and involving some of the same people, which naturally raises a lot of questions, most along the lines of ‘what on earth is going on at TIM?’. At this stage there are more questions than answers though.

What we do know is that Stefano Siragusa will take on the new post of Chief Network, Operations & Wholesale Officer – his seventh executive job title in less than four years at TIM – which will incorporate the Chief Technology & Operations Officer role vacated by Grassi.

Claudio Ongaro, Head of M&A, will temporarily take on what TIM describes as the new Strategy & Business Development function, while Paolo Chiriotti is now described as the reference person for business transformation projects, which presumably covers the ‘Transformation’ element of the outgoing Nardello’s role. You would think Ongaro would be pretty busy with his existing job right now, but there is doubtless a lot of crossover between M&A and strategy at the moment.

TIM has also created a number of new roles: the Chief Consumer, Small & Medium Market Office function, which it has handed to Pietro Labriola; the Chief Enterprise Market Office function, assigned to Massimo Mancini; and the Brand Strategy & Commercial Communication function, which will be carried out by Sandra Aitala. Labriola and Aitala’s positions are on an interim basis, while Mancini’s seems to be a permanent appointment.

Finally, Simone De Rose has taken on the Procurement function on an interim basis. Procurement was assigned to the aforementioned Paolo Chiriotti – a TIM veteran and doubtless a safe pair of hands – at the firm’s last major reshuffle in July.

Back then, TIM’s headline manoeuvre was to make Stefano Siragusa – then Chief Technology and Operating Officer CTOO, a position he had held for all of four months – its Chief Revenue Officer. It later tweaked his job title to Chief Revenue, Information and Media Officer. Siragusa arrived at TIM in 2018 and his other CxO positions have covered wholesale, infrastructure, and an 18-month stint as COO. It’s safe to say that those in charge of the hiring and firing at TIM have earmarked Siragusa as an important cog in the machine and we can probably expect to see more of him going forward.

That same reorg saw Grassi pick up the CTO job and hand procurement to Chiriotti. Why his face no longer fits just a few months later is anyone’s guess. TIM at the time explained the reshuffle as a way to “optimise the in-house resources and with a view to launching some important development projects.” But with the CTO function essentially being subsumed into Network, Operations and Wholesale, it could be linked to the thorny issue of TIM’s network infrastructure, which has always been seen as a strategic national asset and will play a key part in negotiations with KKR.

Those deliberations will include Goldman Sachs and LionTree, incidentally, which TIM earlier this week selected as its financial advisors as it evaluates the KKR bid, while Gatti, Pavesi, Bianchi and Ludovici will serve as its legal advisor. The telco did not give anything else away about the potential takeover though.

The discussions will, of course, include Gubitosi’s replacement Pietro Labriola, who becomes the latest to try to resist the revolving door of the CEO office at TIM. While the ever-changing CEO position at the Italian incumbent has become something of a joke over the years, it’s starting to look like the telco’s entire management team is now up against a similar employment strategy. Musical chairs, anyone?

Does TIM have a plan here, or did someone accidentally leave the work experience kid in charge of the P45s?

About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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