Finmeccanica chairman resigns, denies bribery allegations

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Finmeccanica chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini has resigned and been replaced by Giuseppe Orsi, who retains his role as chief executive of the financially troubled aerospace, transportation and energy group which took a third quarter 2011 charge of €753 million ($998 million) against non-compliance penalties and rising costs associated with its involvement in the Boeing 787 programme, for which it builds horizontal stabilisers and fuselage barrels.

Chief operating officer Alessandro Pansa has also been given a board seat.

Guarguaglini, who had been chief executive until May 2011, is under investigation in Italy for bribery but insists that "he has never created illegal funds nor has he ever paid or ordered anyone to pay money to politicians or political parties".

Orsi had been head of Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland helicopters business before taking over the group earlier this year. He is driving a restructuring package that will see the Italian national champion industrial group, 30% owned by the Italian state, sell off much of its energy generation and road and rail transport businesses to focus on aerospace, helicopters, defence electronics and security.

Finmeccanica's Alenia Aeronautica and Alenia Aermacchi aerospace businesses are to be brought together as a single entity. Orsi's aerospace plan calls for a focus on leading-edge technology programmes like the 787 and 737 Max, and on proprietary products like the M-346 jet trainer and C-27J military transport.

By the end of this year Orsi has promised to detail a revised strategy for Alenia's Superjet 100 regional jet joint venture with Sukhoi. He suggested last month that the partners may extend their relationship to develop a stretched version in the 120-seat range.