Davos WEF
Davos WEF

Italy is now on the right track, says CEO of country's largest insurance firm

China obviously wants to strengthen its global position: Generali CEO

Despite major political upheavals and ongoing concerns about its banking sector, Italy is now on the right track, the head of the country's largest insurer told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.

Philippe Donnet, chief executive (CEO) of Generali, said the government's direction has remained broadly consistent since the referendum last December where voters rejected the reforms espoused by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, prompting his resignation.

"Actually the policy of the government hasn't changed and the government continues implementing the reforms that have to be implemented in Italy. So I'm quite positive," he said.

Turning to the beleaguered banking sector, currently languishing under a crippling stack of non-performing loans, Donnet also sounded an optimistic note.

"As you know some solutions have been found for Italian banks," he highlighted, adding "the things that we could not avoid have been done which is the most important."

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Pressed on whether Italy's banks had already seen the worst, the CEO cautiously opined "I think so."

Addressing the thornier subject of broader European politics, Donnet noted the wave of populist momentum washing through the continent showed changes needed to be made.

"I think we need stronger integration - economic, financial and fiscal integration," he suggested, adding "we need to have a stronger European leadership, we need to work very hard to rebuild the foundation of Europe, we need to be attractive even for the U.K."

Focusing on the outlook for certain countries, such as France, where Generali has what he described as a "core business", Donnet said he was not worried that the impending French presidential elections would create a negative backdrop for his and other industries, regardless of the outcome.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen, but I think that in the end common sense will win and whoever is elected, the reforms will be done in France and probably in other countries."

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