Mediobanca rebel dresses up in ESG colours

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Mediobanca’s (MDBI.MI) pushy investor Leonardo Del Vecchio is putting his activist clothes on. The eyewear billionaire, who owns a 19% stake, proposed on Tuesday read more to amend the bank’s by-laws at an Oct. 28 shareholder meeting. He wants to remove a requirement that up to three Mediobanca executives with at least three years of experience at the bank should sit on the board, and give minority shareholders two more board representatives. Both would be an improvement in Mediobanca’s outdated governance and will likely be well-received by other investors.

Yet the move is less innocent than it looks. Del Vecchio, 86, has been critical of Chief Executive Alberto Nagel’s leadership and strategy. He is also not inclined to renew Mediobanca-backed Philippe Donnet's tenure as chief executive of insurer Generali (GASI.MI) read more . Granting more power to minority shareholders might eventually let the veteran entrepreneur on the board, even though it is not due to be renewed until 2023. Yet, the prospect alone is enough to keep Nagel on his toes. (By Lisa Jucca)

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Editing by Neil Unmack and Karen Kwok

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