Italy Police chief Gianni De Gennaro giving a press conference in Rome. De Gennaro, seen here in 2006, was named chairman of Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica. (Andreas Solaro / AFP)
Italy’s former chief of police, Giovanni De Gennaro, has been appointed chairman of Italian defense firm Finmeccanica, the group said Thursday.
De Gennaro will work alongside CEO Alessandro Pansa, taking on responsibility for institutional relations, external relations, communications, group security and internal audits. In a statement, Finmeccanica said Pansa’s powers would not change.
Giuseppe Orsi served as chairman and CEO of Finmeccanica until February, when he was arrested on allegations of corruption linked to the sale to India of AW101 helicopters. Orsi is standing trial in Italy.
Orsi’s job as CEO was taken by Pansa, who stepped up from his longtime role as CFO. The role of chairman had remained vacant.
De Gennaro served as Italy’s top policeman from 2000 to 2007 and was appointed as undersecretary with responsibility for the Italian secret services in the government led by Mario Monti. That government was replaced this spring by a cross-party coalition government led by Enrico Letta.
The Italian economy ministry on Wednesday named De Gennaro a candidate for the job, and he was confirmed by shareholders Thursday. The Italian government holds a controlling 32.4 percent stake in Finmeccanica.
De Gennaro’s appointment has been seen as a bid to reassure markets that Finmeccanica is bolstering its commitments to sound ethics in the wake of Orsi’s arrest. Italian media reported that De Gennaro’s close contacts with the US government over the years could help Finmeccanica’s profile in Washington.