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Finmeccanica chairman steps down amid slush-fund probe

Guarguaglini bows to pressure, CEO Orsi takes over

01 December, 20:04
Finmeccanica chairman steps down amid slush-fund probe (ANSA) - Rome, December 1 - Pier Francesco Guarguaglini on Thursday bowed to pressure to step down as chairman of Finmeccanica, the Italian defence, aerospace and engineering giant that has been rocked by a probe into illegal payments to politicians.

Chief Executive Giuseppe Orsi was appointed as chairman after Guarguaglini resigned at a board meeting.

Guarguaglini is under investigation over accusations Finmeccanica managers were involved in the issue of false invoices and the creation of slush funds to bribe politicians.

Guarguaglini denies any wrongdoing, as does his wife Marina Grossi, the head of a Finmeccanica division. He said he intended to stay at the helm of the company when the news of the probe broke last month.

But the pressure on him became intense last week when Premier Mario Monti said he expected Finmeccanica to respond rapidly to the situation.

The Italian Treasury owns almost of a third of the company.

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