* Government proposes outsider Mario Moretti as new
* Appointment seen delaying sales of assets
* Moretti faces task of turning around scandal-hit company
* Shares down 3 pct
(Adds comments, background)
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, April 15 Shares in Finmeccanica
fell three percent on Tuesday as the Italian government's choice
of chief executive fuelled speculation the state-controlled
aerospace and defence company could delay the sale of its
In board changes at state firms on Monday, Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi's government proposed Mauro Moretti, a tough senior
manager known for turning around previously loss-making state
railways Ferrovie dello Stato, as CEO of scandal-hit
Renzi also put forward experienced insiders Claudio Descalzi
and Francesco Starace to head energy company Eni and
utility Enel and prominent female businesswomen as
Moretti could be facing the most challenging job after a
series of judicial scandals that have hit Finmeccanica and
prospects for consolidation in the defence industry.
After 37 years at Ferrovie, Moretti has no experience in
Finmeccanica's core aerospace and defence businesses and will
need time before his new team is fully operational.
"We believe that the focus on the core business remains a
priority, but inevitably timing to take a decision (on asset
sales) will lengthen," broker Equita said in a note.
Finmeccanica shares were down 3.06 percent at 0911 GMT while
Ansaldo STS was down nearly 4 percent.
Eni was down 0.2 percent and Enel was off 1.45 percent after
the government's proposed slate of new board directors.
Shareholders at the state-controlled companies will elect
new boards at annual meetings scheduled in May.
Finmeccanica has put up for sale loss-making train making
unit AnsaldoBreda and its stake in rail technology company
Ansaldo STS more than two years ago aiming to cut debt.
Political meddling and a series of corruption scandals have
delayed the process, triggering a downgrade to junk of its 3.3
billion euro debt pile.
This month, U.S. conglomerate General Electric said
it was no longer in a race to buy Ansaldo STS, although the
company is still being targeted by several Asian players.
Moretti's predecessor, Alessandro Pansa, said in March he
was upbeat about the sale of the group's transportation units.
Selling AnsaldoBreda would eliminate a source of cash
absorption while the group's 40 percent stake in profitable STS
is worth around 600 million euros at current market prices.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Lisa Jucca
and Jason Neely)