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CLARA MOSCHINI

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The future of Leonardo in the hands of Fincantieri

Profumo and his countdown

Leonardo and Fincantieri, two companies with different interests that will risk to become competitors in the defense sector. The agreement signed -that waiting to be approved by the respective governments- between Fincantieri and Naval Group (NG) will give at the Trieste's Group a boost and a greater power even in the military, leaving pure and simple shipbuilding; the goal of the two groups would be to create an "Airbus of the sea" that would give rise to an industrial giant with EUR 10 billion revenues and 120 thousand employees in the two countries. Fincantieri could thus also sit down at the European defense table as Italy's main and leading company.

Leonardo in all this would remain watching without any possibility of collaborating in the projects, given that NG is present as a 35% Thales -French aerospace company rival of the Italian one- which has all the ability to equip military ships with weapons and of the necessary electronics. A presence that will also be reinforced by Vitrociset -recently acquired by Fincantieri- a company that works in the field of information technology and high defense technologies.

In this way for Leonardo the armaments and naval electronics sectors would become inaccessible, but the real risk would be that of remaining outside any European industrial integration projects, or at least of not being a leading player. This requires a new strategy that leads to greater technological investments and a new corporate organization chart. First of all -as anticipated by AVIONEWS and reported today also by "Il Fatto Quotidiano" newspaper- will be identified the name of the new CEO who will replace Alessandro Profumo, and the most accredited name so far would seem to be that of Gian Piero Cutillo. The current head of the helicopters division -the true driving force behind Leonardo despite the competition from Airbus Helicopters- could have the support of the Lega party -always strong in the Varese area- and the "division" of the companies with the Government ally -who has appointed the CEO of Ferrovie dello Stato- could express the name of Leonardo's new Chief Executive Officer. Giancarlo Giorgetti, undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Council and number 2 of the Lega party, which has some "sympathies" in Leonardo could push on the name of Cutillo?

If this were to happen it would also confirm the "sponsorship" of Raffaella Luglini -new Chief Stakeholder Officer- that as written by AVIONEWS could have "career benefits" (general manager?) From this possible appointment.

What is certain is that if in the end the name should be "promoted" by the Lega the horizons for Leonardo could change, because next year also Giuseppe Bono -CEO of Fincantieri- will be replaced, opening the way perhaps to a possible close synergy between the two companies, that could follow the government's will to strengthen the Italian national industry. But this can only be possible in the medium term; in the meantime, what Leonardo needs is the appointment of a new CEO and above all new investments to relaunch it.

See for details AVIONEWS.

M/A - 1213473

© World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl