Replacement named for Karina Litvack on board committee at Italian giant Eni

Government candidate takes place of investor-backed governance figure

Italian oil and gas giant Eni has named a replacement for corporate governance expert Karina Litvack on its Control and Risk Committee.

Litvack, the former Head of Governance and Sustainable Investment at F&C Asset Management who joined the board of Eni in 2014, was removed from the company’s board-level Control and Risk Committee earlier this year.

The company cited “ongoing investigations related to alleged conspiracy against the company, reported by the press”.

According to reports in the Italian media earlier this summer, Litvack is one of Eni’s independent directors being investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Syracuse in Sicily for defamation of Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi. Responsible Investor is in contact with the Italian authorities and is currently attempting to substantiate these reports.

Now the company has announced that Diva Moriani, an executive with Milan-based industrial group Intek, has taken Litvack’s place on the committee.

Moriani has been an Eni director since 2014, when she was elected from a list of candidates put forward by the government. A former CEO at an Intek-sponsored private equity fund called I2Capital Partners, Moriani is also a director at Assicurazioni Generali, the leading insurance group.

“Diva Moriani has experience in the area of accounting and finance and risk management, as requested by the Corporate Governance Code,” Eni said, adding that she would leave the board’s Compensation Committee by the end of the year.Eni had said it removed Litvack from the Control and Risk Committee to “safeguard the company from the risks of possible conflicts of interest until the closing of the investigation, remaining the presumption that Director Litvack has not been involved in the facts under investigations”. Litvack remains on the board, and remains on the compensation and sustainability committees, according to the Rome-based industrial giant’s website.

Litvack was elected as an independent non-executive director from a list of candidates submitted by a group of domestic and international institutional investors. Alongside Eni, she has advisory roles with Erika Karp’s Cornerstone Capital, social investor Bridges Ventures, software firm SAP and Transparency International.

Litvack left what was then F&C, now known as BMO Global Asset Management, part of the Bank of Montreal, at the end of 2012. At the time of her departure she headed up the firm’s GSI team overseeing voting and shareholder engagement.

Eni’s main shareholder is the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the Italian state financing body, which has a 25.76% stake. The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance has 4.34%. Leading international shareholders on the register include Blackrock, Fidelity, Schroders, Vanguard, Franklin Templeton and Capital Group.

By law, no one except the Italian State, or entities it controls, can hold more than 3% of Eni’s share capital. Next on the agenda for Eni is its third quarter earnings conference call on October 28.