Italian defense contractor, Finmeccanica has appointed its chief operating officer, Alessandro Pansa as interim CEO to replace Giuseppe Orsi, who has been arrested on corruption charges.
Pansa was bought in following a hastily convened meeting of the Finmeccanica board late on Feb.13 according to a company statement. Pansa will remain as COO and act as interim CEO, while Orsi remains as chairman until a shareholders’ meeting in April.
The company insists it is still fully operational and is attempting to restore the confidence of its shareholders despite being rocked by the allegations of illegal payments made to secure a €560 million ($754 million) deal for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters for India in 2010 when Orsi was CEO of AgustaWestland.
The arrest of Orsi, along with the house-arrest of the current CEO of AgustaWestland, Bruno Spagnolini on Feb. 12 has prompted the Indian authorities to begin their own probe of the deal, with Ministry of Defense officials warning that the contractor faces being penalized through blacklisting or fines if the allegations are proved. India has reportedly halted the procurement of the helicopters until an investigation by the country’s Central Bureau of Investigation is completed.
According to Italy’s ANSA news agency, trading in Finmeccanica stock was briefly suspended during the day after falls of 5% in its share value in Milan. It ended the day with a 4% loss.