Italian Government Fires Entire Alitalia Board

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Talk about a break with the past. The Italian government last week fired the entire board of Alitalia in order to find private investors to pump up the languishing airline. The government, which owns 62% of the company, also fired CEO Marco Zanichelli, who had been in the job for less than three months. Talk of bankruptcy caused stock prices to drop more than 12 percent, but on news of the changes, prices jumped 20 percent. Just how bad are things? Even before a series of strikes last week that grounded 1,500 flights, the airline was losing 50,000 Euros ($59,000 USD) an hour. Alitalia hasn't made an operating profit since 1998. The Italian government believes new CEO Giancarlo Cimoli is the person who can reverse Alitalia's dark plunge. Cimoli is well-respected as the man who turned around Italy's state-run railway system, but he has a lot on his plate. He will be responsible for coming up with a plan of action ... the fourth plan in three years. That plan will need to come soon and work well.