MILAN May 18 The woman widely credited with turning around the finances of Italy's Monte dei Paschi foundation, an influential charity with connections to local politicians, will step down when her mandate expires in June, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Antonella Mansi took the helm of the foundation last year when it was still the top shareholder of Italy's third-biggest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
Mansi put the foundation back on a sound financial footing but also set off what many say was a long-overdue unravelling of the web of local patronage that nearly triggered the financial collapse of both the bank and the foundation.
She cut the foundation's stake in the lender to 2.5 percent from more than 30 percent to pay off debts.
The mayor of Siena, whose city council is the foundation's top stakeholder, has repeatedly said he wanted Mansi to remain in her post, and was quoted by Italian media this week as saying that "there was no better candidate".
"The job I was assigned is done: the foundation is without debts and with liquid assets of 450 million euros ($617 million)," Mansi, a 40-year-old chemicals company executive, told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview.
"I did not see the role as the foundation's chairwoman as a form of career," she said.
The foundation said it could not comment on the matter.
Mansi told the paper she planned to return to her entrepreneurial activities full time.
The first-quarter figures of the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena contained some "initial positive signs", she said, adding that it was important that the bank's restructuring plan, which includes a 5 billion euro rights issue, will be executed within established timelines and the lender returns to generating income for shareholders. ($1 = 0.7297 Euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Elaine Hardcastle)