Italy: Using His Head

When Italy's Pietro Nenni was asked last year what price he demanded in return for supporting a center-left coalition government, the old Socialist leader growled: "The head of Giorgio Valerio." The head belongs to the aristocratic managing director of Societa Edison, then Italy's largest public utility holding company. Nenni got his price—the country's power industry was nationalized—but Giorgio Valerio kept his head, and is busy proving that he knows very well how to use it.

Corporate Shells. When Edison surrendered its last power companies to the government in July, many Italians assumed that the 80-year-old parent company would go out...

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