Enel CEO Francesco Starace – one of the energy transition’s highest-profile executives – bade farewell to the job after nine years as the Italian group declared a media blackout ahead of a battle over the company’s future leadership.

Starace told financial analysts at Enel’s first quarter results call that “the nine years I've passed with you on this job, have been all very satisfying. They've have been all full of excitement for the wonderful development of this group”.

Enel – one of the world’s largest operators of wind and solar – is 23%-owned by the Italian government, which has proposed prominent Italian businessmanFlavio Cattaneo as Starace’s replacement as part of a slate of directors on which shareholders will vote on 10 May, amid reports that the latter lost favour with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.