The chairman of RCS Sport, Flavio Biondi, has resigned from his position at a meeting of the board of directors in Milan on Friday morning. He will be replaced by Raimondo Zanaboni, who has been the head of RCS Pubblicità, the company’s advertising arm, since 2008.
Biondi’s resignation comes at a turbulent time for RCS Sport, which organises the Giro d’Italia, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Lombardy, and works in several other sports, including athletics, basketball, golf and tennis. Last week, it was revealed that an external auditor had been appointed to control the company’s accounts after the alleged misappropriation of an estimated €13million.
CEO Giacomo Catano resigned last week and was replaced by Riccardo Taranto, who is leading an internal investigation, while Chief Operating Officer and figurehead of the Giro d’Italia organisation Michele Acquarone has been placed on precautionary suspension, along with external relations manager Matteo Pastore.
“Some managers have been temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure, considering the significance of the positions that they hold,” the new CEO Taranto told Reuters on Friday, confirming that Acquarone, Pastore and Catano have been suspended.
Taranto said that the investigative audit “is still ongoing and will continue with the maximum intensity in the coming days.”
Reuters reports that Mauro Vegni, the technical director for RCS Sport’s cycling races, is not involved in the matter.
Zanaboni’s elevation to the role of chairman at RCS Sport had been flagged by an article in Milano Finanza on Thursday, which reported that the sports division was effectively set to be placed under the umbrella of RCS Pubblicità.
In a statement released on Friday, parent company RCS Media Group said that Zamboni had been appointed chairman “also with the aim of further strengthening the strategic relationship and synergies between RCS Sport and those of other Departments of the Group.”
The RCS statement also confirmed that the presentation of the route of the 2014 Giro d’Italia will go ahead in Milan on Monday, the day after the Tour of Lombardy.