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Leonardo, why Profumo is still not resigning?

Leonardo CEO is in trouble after bad experiences

What if it was time for the Tsar to fall? The sentence of six years in prison and a fine of 2.5 million euros after the crack of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) led from 2012 to 2015 puts even an untouchable (so far) like Alessandro Profumo in trouble. To ask for his resignation, it is no longer just the 5-star movement (M5S): some days ago the letter sent to Profumo himself arrived, but also to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, signed by Giuseppe Bivona, partner and co-founder of Bluebell partners fund, Leonardo's private shareholder. Resignation, not as a legal obligation, rather as a "question of opportunity and dignity, as well as of civic sense", writes Bivona. One who knows him well. He, Profumo, as usual, will be shrugging, going on his way. As it always has. Because "Mr Arrogance", nickname was given to him due to the angular character, that's how he is. 

Born in Genoa on February 17, 1957 (astrological sign Aquarius, stubborn but reliable, says the horoscope), the son of an engineer who has a company in Sicily, he spent his childhood in Palermo. Transferred to Milan, he attended the "Manzoni" high school and then made a hard journey as a working student: he worked at Banco Lariano, doing accounting, and attended "Bocconi", where he graduated with a thesis on credit companies that was noticed by McKinsey. Thus, he joined the club: he moved from Bain & Cuneo, then to Ras and the German Allianz where he met Lucio Rondelli who introduced him to Enrico Cuccia and took him to Credito Italiano, privatized in 1993. Five years later, in 1998, Rondelli leaves the helm to Profumo who cleans up the accounts and transforms it into a model of efficiency, oriented towards profit. Unicredit was born, but it didn't end there. A few years pass and, in 2007, Profumo is the director of the merger with Capitalia from which a 100 billion euro colossus emerged, the first institution in Italy and fifth in Europe, which in total could count on 9,289 branches for over 160,000 employees. If on the one hand the merger with Capitalia yields him a compensation of 9,427,000 euros (in addition to free shares for 3.92 million) it represents the beginning of an ordeal that puts Profumo in a bad light. The troubles come from the German campaign: the Bavarian Hypovereinsbank, conquered with a blitz that makes the Bank of Italy turn up its nose, turns out to be full of rotten securities, derivatives and even American subprime mortgages. Here, that banking giant that had penetrated into France, into former communist Central Europe and even into Russia, risks collapsing. Like Alexander the Great, another unwelcome nickname to the banker, the colossus has clay feet and collapses. In 2008, to save the bank, he launched a 6.6 billion capital increase (unwelcome to shareholders) and must also admit that he had indigestion by underestimating the crisis. 

From then on, a kind of descending parable begins. The resignation from Unicredit in 2010 earned him 38 million euros in liquidation (two donated to charity) and someone began to rumor that, for not knowing what to do, the banker "throws himself into politics". Instead, in April 2012, Monte dei Paschi di Siena thinks of him as the new president after the end of the leadership of Giuseppe Mussari. He takes on the post, which lasts three years, in which, many point out, he does not know what to do: and in any case he does not save the Siena bank from the crash, reaping errors after errors during its management (not least a suspicion of usury rates practiced by the MPS). Profumo says goodbye to his post in August 2015 but soon finds other jobs: after having chaired Equita SIM, the Gentiloni government appoints him CEO of Leonardo, formerly of Finmeccanica. When he arrives, Leonardo has already been harassed by Mauro Moretti, another good temper, fallen (also him) under the blows of his arrogance and for a sentence (7 years for the tragedy of Viareggio). At Leonardo, Profumo tries to project the company towards hi-tech: someone says he doesn't know what to do and throws himself into technology. Profumo, being on the executive committee of the IIT of Genoa, calls upon himself a genius like Roberto Cingolani (ex-deus ex machina of the Erzelli Technological Institute) and handsomely pays the French Atos to build the supercomputers that will go to Leonardo's Genoese headquarters. 

Meanwhile, under his leadership (inexperienced, many argue) the company's accounts do not satisfy that much: compared to the 17 billion turnover of Guarguaglini, for example, Profumo shows a 2018 with accounts that close at 15 billion euros with a cash flow that slips from 537 to 336 million euros, with analysts worried about the "fragility of Leonardo's economic situation, which manifests itself in the expectation of possible financial transactions on the capital or on the issue of bonds, a hypothesis however denied by Profumo himself , without leaving the market quiet, however. Not even his company policy is satisfying: no acquisitions, and Leonardo continues to remain an earthenware pot around international iron vessels, with gigantic competitors against whom Profumo would show no power, least of all any expansion strategy. 

We talked about the market. In the last letter sent to the company a few days ago, after the crime of the conviction, Profumo said: "our reference market is giving us confidence and the results obtained in a period marked by the serious difficulties of the pandemic tell of a solid company and professionals animated by passion and competence26102". The fact remains that the stock on the stock market, since he has been at the helm of the company, that is, since 2017, has slowly collapsed, going from 15.9 euros to the current 4.7 euros. It's not all. Many wonder, for example, why he and his Leonardo do not go to the aid of a jewel in difficulty such as Piaggio Aero, currently a police station and awaiting a buyer. For one thing: yesterday a Leonardo drone crashed in Trapani.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency