Parmalat appoints Bondi as c.e.o.

by Eric Schroeder
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ROME — Dairy and juice company Parmalat S.p.A., struggling to recover from a fraud scandal, said Tuesday that its board of directors has confirmed the appointment of turnaround expert Enrico Bondi as chief executive.

Mr. Bondi, who was Parmalat’s government-appointed administrator, was named to be c.e.o. by shareholders at a meeting earlier this month. Parmalat returned to the Milan stock exchange on Oct. 6.

Parmalat also said its board confirmed Raffaele Picella as chairman.

In December 2003, the company said that a €3.95 billion account with Bank of America did not exist. Parmalat filed for bankruptcy protection and revealed that its debt was more than €14 billion — eight times higher than previously claimed.

Mr. Bondi, known for his success in turning around debt-laden Montedison a decade ago, was brought in to draw up a financial and industrial restructuring plan. His rescue strategy has included paring Parmalat down to its core brands of juice and dairy products.

He also launched lawsuits seeking billions of dollars from Italian and international financial institutions, which he claims continued to earn commissions by raising money for Parmalat in the run-up to the collapse, despite knowing about the company’s perilous financial state.

Financial institutions have maintained that they were fooled by Parmalat’s fraud.

Parmalat’s former chairman, Calisto Tanzi, is on trial in Milan.

Being tried in a separate, fast-track trial in Milan are two of Parmalat’s former auditors. Maurizio Bianchi and Lorenzo Penca, who both worked at auditing firm Grant Thornton’s former Italian office, are being tried on charges of market rigging, providing false accounting information and blocking the work of Italian stock market regulator Consob.

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