Gabriele Galateri di Genola, in the role since 2011, said in a letter to the board that he would continue as chairman only until April, when Generali’s board comes up for renewal.
“I will leave the board in full harmony,” Galateri wrote in a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
His departure comes at a delicate time for Generali, with influential investors opposed to the retention of Philippe Donnet as chief executive.
The reappointment of Donnet has been opposed by construction magnate Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone and fellow Italian billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, founder of eyewear giant Luxottica, who are both Generali investors.
The pair want the insurer to be more ambitious in expanding via acquisitions. However, Donnet retains the support of Mediobanca (OTC:MDIBY), the leading Generali shareholder, ahead of a crunch shareholder meeting at the end of April.
Prior to becoming chairman, Galateri held the role of deputy chairman for seven years.