Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti (Finmeccanica)
ROME — As part of a bid to centralize management and cut down on wasteful overlaps, Finmeccanica’s new CEO, Mauro Moretti, is to transform the group’s owned companies — including AgustaWestland and Alenia Aermacchi — into mere divisions.
The change, which is due to be concluded by the end of 2015, also covers Oto Melara, WASS and Selex ES, but will not cover civil transport activity, joint ventures like Thales Alenia Space, Telespazio and MBDA, or the firm’s US unit, DRS, which is run under proxy agreements in the US.
In a statement, Finmeccanica said the move would allow “more closely integrated governance and strategic direction, producing benefits in terms of industrial productivity, economies of scale and of boosting competitiveness.”
To get the process underway, Finmeccanica said it would be “transferring the registered headquarters and offices of the CEOs of the operating companies involved to the Finmeccanica headquarters and by rationalizing international offices established in key markets,” a move that could affect Finmeccanica’s presence in the US.
The announcement confirms reports that Moretti, who arrived at the firm in April after running Italy’s railways, is determined to centralize management and cut back on the autonomy that Finmeccanica’s units have enjoyed. That autonomy was rooted in the fact that many units started life as small private firms before being taken over by state-controlled Finmeccanica, and still have their own links with local unions and politicians, as well as with their military customers.
Since Moretti’s arrival, numerous company sources have said managers are refraining from taking any key decisions as they wait to see what Moretti’s plans are for the company.
Now, Moretti may mull selling off DRS, reports in Italy have suggested.
By keeping Finmeccanica’s transport activity as units, Moretti appears not to have ruled out selling off underperforming rolling stock manufacturer Ansaldo Breda.
Moreover, Finmeccanica’s statement said due diligence was underway at Ansaldo Breda to allow possible buyers to see the books.
That news, said Italian bank Mediobanca in a note released on June 20, would be “taken extremely well by the market,” after analysts have argued for years that indebted Ansaldo Breda is holding the group back. ■