The Italian Chamber of Lords Sits on Listed Company Boards. An Empirical Analysis of Italian Listed Company Boards from 1998 to 2006.
The purpose of the present paper is to contribute to the literature on country interlocks by illustrating and analysing the interlocking directorships in the Italian listed companies from 1998 to 2006. We find that over the entire period a high percentage of the Italian listed companies are connected with each other mainly through a very small minority of directors. Such group of interlocking (overwhelmingly male) directors shows a remarkable stability over time with very few entrants and very few exits mainly related to the passing away of the director. We define them for brevity the Lords
of the Italian stockmarket. Lords tend to belong to families of directors, with the first five families having more than 100 directorships in nine years. The highest level of connectivity concerns those companies that belong to the MIB 30/S&P-MIB 40 index, the Italian Blue Chips. In particular, practically all the financial Blue Chips are connected with each other through a web of directors continuously from 1998 to 2006. The extent, depth, and stability of the connections among the Italian listed companies, and in particular the main Italian financial companies, raise doubts on the extent of
their competitive behaviour.
Keywords: corporate governance, interlocking directorships, board turnover, antitrust, competition,
social network analysis (SNA), exploratory data analysis (EDA), empirical corporate finance.
JEL classifications: C0, L1, L4, G3, M2.