By Elvira Pollina
MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) General Manager Pietro Labriola on Friday is set to become the fifth CEO in six years of Italy's biggest telecoms company as it faces major challenges.
The struggling former phone monopoly is weighing a 10.8 billion euro ($12.25 billion) takeover approach by U.S.fund KKR.
Hit by a series of profit warnings, TIM is also working on a broader overhaul of its operations as a potential alternative to the takeover that would split its service businesses from its prized network assets.
Labriola's nomination for TIM's top job has been promoted by the group's largest investor Vivendi and the executive has won respect within the company where he has worked for two decades.
A senior TIM manager, asking not to be named, said Pietro knew TIM better than anyone else.
* Born in Altamura, near the southern Italian city of Bari, where he took a degree in business administration, 54-year-old Labriola joined Telecom Italia in 2001 after stints at rival operators France Telecom and Infostrada.
* Labriola held a wide range of roles and senior positions across TIM, from sales operations to strategic projects. He was involved in one of the company's first attempts to spin off the group's network infrastructure in Italy in 2013.
* He moved to Brazil in 2015 to become chief operating officer of TIM's local subsidiary. He was then named CEO of TIM's Brazilian operations in 2019, a position in which he demonstrated an appetite for innovation and cost control.
* A chess player who has many tattoos, Labriola frequently uses sports metaphors to emphasise teamwork. One person who has worked with him for years said he was open to discussions with people with different ideas. "He does not look for consensus at all costs and he is ready to change his mind if someone else points out a better solution," the person said.
* Labriola's reputation and skills are also recognised outside TIM. A top executive at a rival company in Italy described him as a pragmatic manager with a strong focus on the operational aspects of the business.
"Pietro is quite the opposite of [former TIM CEO Luigi] Gubitosi who acted more like a politician during his term".
($1 = 0.8820 euros)
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan; Additional eporting by Alberto Alerigi in Sao Paulo; Editing by Keith Weir and Barbara Lewis)