[March 29, 2014]ROME (Reuters) — Italy said on Friday
it will back cuts of at least 25 percent to top managers' salaries
at oil producer Eni <ENI.MI>, utility Enel <ENEI.MI> and defense
contractor Finmeccanica <SIFI.MI> at coming shareholders' meetings.
All three companies are controlled by the state but listed on the
stock market, with government stakeholdings ranging from 30.2
percent in Finmeccanica and 31.2 percent in Enel to 44.3 percent in
The economy ministry said in a statement its representatives at the
shareholder assemblies would vote for the proposals but added the
result would depend on a vote by the majority of shareholders.
The proposed cuts were already foreseen in a law passed last year,
but do not take effect until April 1, 2014.
Separately, the government also announced compulsory 25 percent cuts
in top management pay at rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato <FRSTO.UL>,
Poste Italiane <PSTIT.UL>, the post office group which is due to be
partially privatized, and state investment holding Cassa dei
Depositi e Prestiti <CDP.UL>.
With Italy suffering the highest unemployment seen since the 1970s,
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to bring down the salaries of
Italy's public sector managers.
There will be no absolute management pay limit at any of the
companies but the reductions from last year's salaries bolster
Renzi's attack on waste and elite privilege.
PAY MUCH HIGHER IN GERMANY
The move could also fuel criticism that the heads of Italian
multinationals will earn less than foreign competitors.
Last week, the head of Ferrovie dello Stato, Mauro Moretti drew
furious criticism after threatening to walk away from his 850,000
euro ($1.17 million) job, complaining that the head of German rail
group Deutsche Bahn earned three times his salary.
According to annual accounts, Fulvio Conti, chief executive of
electricity group Enel, earned 2.1 million euros last year. His
counterpart at oil group Eni, Paolo Scaroni, earned 6.4 million
euros while Finmeccanica chief Alessandro Pansa earned just over 1
While those pay levels are not especially high by international
standards, the pay of managers at lower level public companies can
be very high in comparison with most countries, with some earning
more than Italy's president.
Under the new rules, management pay in other public sector
companies, including state broadcaster RAI and air traffic
controller ENAV, will be measured against the head of the Court of
Cassation, Italy's top appeals court, who earns a gross annual
salary of 311,658.53 euros.
Managers of the larger groups such as RAI will earn the same salary,
while heads of the smaller companies will earn proportionately lower
packages based on the size of their operations and workforces.
($1 = 0.7278 euros)
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and James Mackenzie;
editing by Tom Heneghan)