Pirelli has said Chinese investor Sinochem had put forward a new top executive as chairman in a move Reuters said could help to ease tensions between its main shareholders.

Ahead of a 31 July shareholder meeting to appoint a new Pirelli board, Sinochem proposed it be chaired by Jiao Jian, who became CEO at the state-owned Chinese group in March. Jiao would replace Sinochem president Li Fanrong at Pirelli.

Reuters said nominees for the board were being put forward under amended shareholder accords between Sinochem, which is Pirelli’s largest investor with a 37% stake, and its Italian co-investor Camfin, headed by long-serving Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera.

The news agency noted Sinochem’s move to modify governance accords with Camfin prompted the Rome government last month to step in under rules designed to shield assets that are strategic for the country from unwanted foreign influence.

The government’s decisions ensured that Camfin, which owns only 14.1% of Pirelli, appoints the CEO and retains key influence over the group, Reuters said.

While Jiao’s top role at Sinochem shows the Chinese group remains committed to the investment in Pirelli, the new nominee suggests a willingness to open a new chapter in the relations, a Reuters source said.

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By GlobalData

The report said Sinochem picks eight members of the 15 strong board and Camfin four. Nominees include new CEO designate Andrea Casaluci and Provera who will shift to the executive vice chairman job. He has headed Pirelli since 1992.