MILAN, Italy — Finmeccanica, the Italian defense group, will change its name to Leonardo, the company said Wednesday, a move reflecting CEO Mauro Moretti's radical restructuring of the company.
The new name, which refers to Italian 15th century artist Leonardo Da Vinci, was approved by the Finmeccanica board on Wednesday as the firm's 2015 results, which showed a €527 million (US $590 million) profit, were signed off.
The name must still be approved at a shareholders' meeting in April, but that is considered a formality.
Naming a defense company after the Renaissance artist who painted the Mona Lisa may raise eyebrows, but a company spokeswoman said the choice was in part inspired by Leonardo's groundbreaking designs and inventions, including plans for a prototype helicopter, centuries before the first rotorcraft took flight.
The famed thinker also drew up plans for an armored fighting vehicle and designed siege machines.
Last year, Moretti promised a new, "short and memorable" title for the firm as he pressed ahead with plans to turn Finmeccanica's semi-autonomous units into centralized divisions, eliminating overlaps and shedding dozens of senior managers.
The new name, he said at the time, would evoke a sense "of deep roots and a great future."
"Finmeccanica is an obsolete name, we will truly change it," he said.
The prefix Fin in Finmeccanica was used by Italian governments to denote a state controlled financial holding company, and reflects Finmeccanica's creation as a holding company which gathered together numerous small firms.
Finmeccanica has been considered an unwieldy name by company managers, but over the last decade it has built up recognition as the company has grown.
Some analysts have however argued that the name is too closely associated with kickback allegations that have plagued the company in recent years.
With unit names boasting historical pedigree such as Oto Melara, AgustaWestland and Alenia no longer used to refer to parts of the company — even if they may be used for product names — Moretti has marked a restart for the firm.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.