Italy's RCS picks Microsoft exec for turnaround
MILAN May 25 (Reuters) - Italian loss-making publisher RCS MediaGroup picked Pietro Scott Jovane, the head of Microsoft Italy, to become its chief executive and lead the business turnaround, the company said on Friday.
The Milan-based publisher also decided to enter talks with France's Gallimard over the sale of its French publishing unit Flammarion, a move that would help cut its almost 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of net debt.
U.S.-born Jovane, 43, started to work at Microsoft in 2003 after six years at Italian yellow pages group Seat Pagine Gialle . He will start in his new role at RCS on July 1.
RCS, publisher of Italy's most influential newspaper Corriere della Sera, started to look for a new CEO in April when it underwent a board shake-up.
The investor syndicate controlling RCS comprises some of the top names of Italy's financial and industrial establishment, from investment bank Mediobanca to car maker Fiat . Disagreements over strategy among the 12 members of the syndicate were often blamed for the company's poor financial performance.
Founded in 1876, Corriere plays a strong role in shaping Italy's public opinion and is seen as an asset in the country's political and media landscape.
But like other publishers, the company has struggled in recent years to stem losses in advertising sales and cut costs as readers increasingly look to the Internet for news.
RCS posted a 322 million euro ($426 million) loss for 2011, mainly due to a writedown on its Spanish operations.
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