The so-called “ethics clause”, which would force the ouster of officials who had been indicted on corruption charges, was being pushed by government sources as outgoing chief executive Paolo Scaroni has been accused of corruption in an unfolding probe of business dealings in Algeria.
“Relating to the integrity requirements and the related grounds for ineligibility and forfeiture for directors, the shareholders’ meeting did not approve the proposal presented,” the company said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Stockholders at the company’s annual meeting were not convinced with the proposal widely missing the two-thirds majority for passage, Reuters reported. Critics including Scaroni had characterised the move as government meddling in a publicly listed company.
“No company in the world has a clause like this,” the news wire quoted Scaroni as saying on the sidelines of the shareholder meeting.
The scandal has already helped push an end to Scaroni’s tenure as chief executive at the oil company after three terms at the helm.
Italy’s treasury, which holds core stakes in Eni, named exploration head and second-ranking executive Claudio Descalzi as the preferred choice to be Eni’s new chief executive.
He is scheduled to be installed in the company’s top spot on Friday following a meeting of a new board of directors elected at the Thursday meeting.
Eni contends it had already conducted detailed audits, pushed efforts to root out the problem and submitted its findings to authorities.
An internal Saipem investigation released in July concluded that no laws were broken but company policies were violated.