Genova - Ansaldo Energia has a new company head. It’s Filippo Abba’, the company’s international manager who built much of his career in the Energy Division of Foster Wheeler. As anticipated by Secolo XIX, the manufacturer of power-generating turbines is starting 2017 with a new framework of governance, as requested by majority shareholder CDP Equity, in accordance with the second largest shareholder, Shanghai Electric, but also endorsed by Giuseppe Zampini, the man who for more than 16 years headed the company towards the outcome that represents one of the firm’s most important results for the future: the acquisition of Alstom technology for latest-generation gas turbines, and the construction of a new plant in Genoa with access to a dock area at Cornigliano. Zampini, then, makes way for Abba’, and becomes the company’s president with “strategic powers”.
Those who are familiar with him say that Zampini “will not be a figurehead president”: after having personally led negotiations half-way around the world, the departing CEO has become synonymous in many power companies’ minds, globally, with the company’s AEN brand. Public-sector investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), through CDP Equity, announced yesterday its intention to propose the appointment of Zampini as president and of Abba’ as CEO at the next shareholders’ meeting.
That meeting’s first session is scheduled for 16 January, with a second session on 23 January: at that later date Abba’ will be named advisor to the company’s board of directors, and at the next board meeting he’ll be confirmed as the new company head, and Zampini will be given special “strategic powers” (likely the file on M&A’s). The outgoing president, Umberto Della Sala, will remain on the board as an advisor. Since 2013, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, through CDP Equity, is the majority shareholder of Ansaldo Energia, with a 44.8% stake. On the side-lines of the inauguration of the company’s new facilities at Campi, CDP president, Claudio Costamagna, told Secolo XIX that AEN was “one of Italy’s outstanding holding companies,” explaining that CDP intends to “keep it and make it prosper,” and that he was ready to acquire from Leonardo-Finmeccanica their remaining 15% interest in AEN.
Such a commitment was confirmed by Guido Rivolta, CDP Equity CEO, at the same venue: “Our statute predominantly mentions minority interest holdings, but it does not prohibit having a majority stake, such as the one we’ll hold in Ansaldo Energia.” In June, the new AEN plant in Genova Cornigliano will begin operations, here the new GT26 gas turbines, produced in Campi, will be assembled and shipped by sea. But for AEN the challenges are not over. The development of the GT36 needs to be completed (a costly undertaking), and relations with target market countries (China, Middle East and Africa) need to be cultivated.