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UPDATE 1-Generali working on new plan amid rising investor tensions

(Recasts with CEO quotes, sources)

MILAN, April 29 (Reuters) - Generali Chief Executive Philippe Donnet said on Thursday he had already started working on a new strategic plan as tensions among investors in Italy’s largest insurer are seen rising in view of the renewal of the board next year.

Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone, Generali’s second-largest investor with a 5.6% stake, snubbed the company’s AGM on Thursday in the first public sign that the businessman is unhappy with the balance of power among shareholders, sources have said.

Another major shareholder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, who had also been critical of some of Generali’s strategic moves in the past year, attended the meeting and backed all items voted on, a source close to the Italian billionaire said.

Donnet’s reappointment is in the hands of Generali’s board which for the first time will submit its own slate of candidates after a change to the insurer’s by-laws passed last year.

In the past Mediobanca - the insurer’s top investor with a 12.9% stake - filed a list of nominees to be voted on, effectively picking the CEO and chairman.

“As we approach full implementation of our current strategic plan, we are already working on shaping the next one, and we have a very solid base on which to build it,” Donnet said in the opening remarks of the meeting, held remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“With just over six months to go until (the current plan’s) completion, we are confident that we will meet all the goals we set out,” he added without elaborating on his plan. (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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