(Adds comments from former execs)
MILAN Feb 19 The board of Generali
has mandated Chief Executive Mario Greco to pursue legal action
and seek damages from two former top executives in relation to
past loss-making investments, the Italian insurer said on
The decision follows a November request by Italian insurance
regulator IVASS to carry out an assessment of actions by former
chief executive Giovanni Perissinotto and former chief financial
officer Raffaele Agrusti.
"The group CEO has been given the authority to undertake
legal proceedings before the employment tribunal, aimed to
challenge and contest the settlement agreements reached with
Giovanni Perissinotto and Raffaele Agrusti, to cancel the rights
granted to Agrusti by the company, to recuperate the amount paid
to Perissinotto, and - for both - to claim damages arising from
non-performance in the execution of their duties as employees of
Generali," it said in a statement.
Generali, Italy's biggest insurer, had already conducted an
internal review of private equity and hedge fund investments
made under Perissinotto and Agrusti, but it concluded last year
there was no ground for legal action or damages.
Perissinotto, who had been at the helm of Generali for over
a decade, was ousted in mid-2012 after clashing with investors
led by investment bank Mediobanca frustrated over the
group's underperformance. He has been replaced by Greco, who is
spearheading a push to boost the insurer's capital base and
In a statement to news agency ANSA, Perissinotto said he was
"deeply saddened" by Generali's decision and vowed to defend
himself "with the utmost determination".
"I have served the company with loyalty and dedication for
more than 30 years and I'm deeply convinced of the correctness
of my work," ANSA quoted him as saying.
Agrusti also said he had "always acted in the company's
interest and within the rules", the news agency added.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Lisa Jucca; Editing by David
Evans and Jonathan Oatis)