Leonardo’s new CEO shakes up management

Leonardo’s new CEO shakes up management

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ROME — With a new CEO at the helm, Italy’s Leonardo is heading to the Paris Air Show with slimmed-down top management and a familiar face overseeing the firm’s key divisions.

After two mandates and six years on the job, Alessandro Profumo stepped down at the state-controlled firm last month to be replaced by Roberto Cingolani, 61, who will take Leonardo to the French event, which runs June 19-25.

Cingolani was a chief technology and innovation officer at Leonardo who pushed cyber and artificial intelligence programs, but he left in 2021 to become a so-called green transition minister in the Italian government.

His return to the firm as CEO and general manager was reportedly backed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni over the advice of her defense minister, Guido Crosetto.

Crosetto’s preferred candidate was Lorenzo Mariani, the head of the Italy-based arm of European missile-maker MBDA. However, Mariani did not go away empty-handed, as he is taking on the role of co-general manager at Leonardo.

And the role comes with real responsibility: Leonardo’s division heads will report to him, a company source told Defense News on Thursday.

Giving Mariani a senior role involves some risk. In 2002, two managers asked to jointly run Leonardo, then known as Finmeccanica. But the hierarchy didn’t work out, and one executive, Roberto Testore, was jettisoned.

At the division level, the new CEO has decided most managers will keep their jobs, including Marco Zoff at the aircraft division, Gian Piero Cutillo at helicopters, Stefano Bortoli at aerostructures and Tommaso Profeta at cyber systems, the source said.

But at the electronics division, Gabriele Pieralli is being replaced by Marco De Fazio, the former No. 2 at the business unit. Pieralli is now taking up an executive role at Telespazio, a space services company Leonardo controls.

And former Leonardo strategy chief Giovanni Soccodato replaced Mariani as boss of MBDA’s Italian arm on June 1.

Meanwhile, the number of managers running corporatewide tasks for personnel, legal affairs, compliance, finance and sustainability are now reduced to eight from 13 as Cingolani slims down top management, the firm announced Thursday.

Cingolani himself will take responsibility for strategy and technology business activities, a role similar to the one he had at the firm between 2019 and 2021.

There’s also a new role for Leonardo’s space division, reflecting the firm’s growing interest in the field. Franco Ongaro, a former European Space Agency staffer, is stepping up as manager for the unit. Ongaro had succeeded Cingolani as chief technology and innovation officer when the latter left Leonardo in 2021.

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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