August 9, 2018 / 9:00 PM / 2 months ago

TIM Brazil COO to step down amid management reshuffle: sources

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian telecoms provider TIM Participacoes SA’s chief operating officer will step down in the coming months as part of a wider management shake-up, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The likely exit of Pietro Labriola would follow the replacement of TIM Participacoes Chairman Mario Cesar Pereira de Araujo in March and Chief Executive Stefano de Angelis in July, the sources said, requesting anonymity to discuss internal personnel matters.

Amos Genish, chief executive of parent company Telecom Italia SpA, is installing long-time allies as part of a more hands-on approach in running the Brazil unit.

TIM Participacoes declined to comment. One of the sources said Labriola is due to step down in September.

Genish once served as CEO of Telefonica SA’s Brazil unit. Among his moves since taking Telecom Italia’s reins last September was hiring a former co-worker at Brazilian broadband operator GVT to an executive position at TIM Participacoes in February.

In March, he replaced Araujo, the chairman, with Joao Cox Neto, an executive with whom he was close in Brazil, stoking speculation in the Brazil unit that Genish was looking to bring in long-time allies who share his vision for TIM Participacoes, which has included aggressive fiber expansion alongside the ex-Israeli army officer’s famously austere cost discipline.

With Labriola’s departure, Genish may have another opportunity to bring in a trusted hand.

Analysts have generally welcomed Genish’s hands-on approach to Brazil. However, the departure of the unit’s COO shortly after the exits of the CEO, chairman and other board members could raise concerns about the smoothness of the transition.

That is especially true as Labriola had an active role in strategic and day-to-day matters, one of the sources said.

“Its not good that they both are leaving. It’ll generate noise, and make the transition harder,” said one analyst at a major bank, who requested anonymity to talk about executives frankly.

The analyst added, however, that investors are likely to look favorably on Genish having a significant say in choosing the new COO, blunting the negative impact of Labriola’s departure.

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Editing by Richard Chang

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