Business Case Studies, Succession Planning Case Study, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), Succession Battle at the Italian Oil Giant

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Succession Planning Case Study

Case Title:

Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI): Succession Battle at the Italian Oil Giant

Publication Year : 2005

Authors: Sujatha, T. Phani Madhav

Industry: Oil and Natural Gas


Case Code: SUP0004

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) an Italian state-owned company dealing primarily in oil and natural gas under Enrico Mattei, the founder of ENI, diversified into businesses such as electricity, engineering, construction and petrochemicals. After his sudden death in 1962, the company was mired in financial and operational struggles and in 1992, Franco Bernabe, a strong supporter of privatisation was appointed as Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership ENI not only became a joint stock company but also showed profits. Vittorio Mincato succeeded Bernabe in 1998 and he turned ENI into the world's sixth biggest oil producer, in terms of market capitalisation. With his term coming to an end in May 2005, speculations about the succession plans is doing rounds in the industry circles. Owing to the government's 30% stake in ENI, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister was also in search for a replacement to Vittorio. Moreover, though Vittorio announced that he was expecting a term extension, many within the industry circles voted against him.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To highlight the impact of political influence on the management as well as the company's operations that led to financial problems at ENI
  • To discuss how privatisation efforts and freeing the company from political influence helped the company to emerge as one of the leading oil producers in the world
  • To discuss the possible impact of succession plan on the future of ENI.

Keywords : Succession plans; Privatisation; Managing in Troubled Times Case Study; Government intervention; Vittorio Mincato; Political influence


  • ENI: The Early years
  • Turnaround by Franco Bernabe
  • Vittorio Mincato
  • Succession Battle! Who After Vittorio?

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