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Italy plans Treasury shake-up with new department for state-owned firms - sources

Confidence vote over the 2023 budget, in Rome

By Giuseppe Fonte

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti wants to reorganise his ministry, creating a new department to manage state-owned firms and banking regulation in a project he will put to the cabinet next week, sources told Reuters on Friday.

The proposed shake-up would enable Giorgetti and nationalist Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to put a key ally at the heart of ministry operations to deal with the most delicate corporate issues facing Italy.

The move follows criticism from Meloni's aides over the way previous governments dealt with Italy's main financial dossiers, which led Rome to appoint on Thursday economist Riccardo Barbieri as Treasury director general, replacing Alessandro Rivera in the position.

These dossiers include the privatisation of national airline ITA Airways and efforts to relaunch bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), which is 64%-owned by the Treasury following a 2017 bailout that cost taxpayers 5.4 billion euros ($5.8 billion).

Under Giorgetti's plan, the influential Treasury department within the ministry would be split into two units, said two sources briefed on the matter.

One of the units would mainly be devoted to public debt management, macroeconomic policies and European and international relations, while the other would handle state-controlled firms, public assets and financial regulation.

The newly created department is expected to have its own director general. ITA Chairman Antonino Turicchi, who has been historically close to the Italian right-wing bloc, is under consideration for the job.

One of the sources said the reorganisation plan required time to be implemented and Barbieri would continue to lead the whole Treasury department under its current set-up in the meantime.

A number of other senior roles will also be up for grabs in the coming weeks, including chairmen and CEOs of state-controlled energy groups ENI and Enel.

The boards of MPS, defence group Leonardo and power grid Terna are also due for renewal in the next few months, while a new Bank of Italy governor will have to be found when Ignazio Visco finishes his term at the end of October.

($1 = 0.9234 euros)

(Editing by Gavin Jones, Mark Heinrich and Keith Weir)