MILAN/LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has hired senior Citigroup banker Pierpaolo Di Stefano to oversee a growing portfolio of equity investments in the eurozone’s third largest economy, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Controlled by the Italian Treasury, CDP holds stakes in a number of companies deemed of strategic relevance such as oil group Eni, shipbuilder Fincantieri and energy grids Terna and Snam.
Di Stefano is one of Italy’s most seasoned dealmakers. He joined Citi in 2013 to co-head its Italian corporate and investment banking business and was previously head of Nomura’s investment banking franchise for Italian corporates.
Di Stefano, who started his career at Lazard in 1994, also worked at Merrill Lynch and UBS.
At Citi he handled some of Italy’s biggest M&A transactions including Hitachi’s acquisition of Italian rail signalling group Ansaldo STS.
He will now take on a senior role as CDP’s head of equity investments, one of the sources said.
CDP and Citi declined to comment while Di Stefano was not immediately available to comment.
His appointment follows that of Vito Lo Piccolo, Deutsche Bank’s former head of Italy, who now leads CDP’s investor relations team with a focus on sovereign wealth funds, two of the sources said.
Italy’s populist government shook up CDP’s management team in July and promoted CDP Chief Financial Officer Fabrizio Palermo to the role of CEO, replacing Fabio Gallia, a former BNP Paribas banker.
CDP president, former Goldman Sachs banker, Claudio Costamagna also stepped down and was replaced by another ex Goldman banker, Massimo Tononi, who was president of Monte dei Paschi between 2015 and 2016.
Palermo, a former McKinsey consultant specialising in restructuring, is putting together a small group of bankers to help to manage CDP’s growing role in corporate Italy.
Last year CDP built up a stake in Telecom Italia with a view of creating a single broadband network operator.
CDP co-owns fibre-optic infrastructure company Open Fiber in tandem with state-controlled utility Enel and favours a merger of the fixed network of Telecom Italia and its rival Open Fiber. (Additional reporting by Stefano Bernabei and Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman)