The board of ITA Airways has confirmed it has revoked all powers of Executive President Alfredo Altavilla and has transferred them to Chief Executive Officer Fabio Maria Lazzerini.

This follows an emergency board meeting on October 20 following a leadership dispute at the airline amid sensitive negotiations to partially privatise the state carrier.

In a brief statement after the meeting, the board confirmed it had stripped Altavilla of all powers as already ordered in a resolution on October 12.

It reiterated that "the company's main task is to remain focused on the industrial plan, continuing along the road taken that is providing better results than expected, with the aim of consolidating the relaunch of ITA Airways and protecting the company's workers who have taken the challenge".

The board's reiteration flies in the face of a ruling by a board of statutory auditors of ITA Airways, which rejected the October 12 resolution as invalid, questioning the board's power to make such a decision and suggesting it needed to be discussed in the Italian parliament. The issue will likely be a hot topic of a November 8 shareholders meeting.

At the October 12 meeting, six of nine board members voted against Altavilla and blamed him for slowing negotiations with US private equity fund Certares, backed by Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, for a majority stake in ITA Airways. Italy had to extend the talks through to the end of October after failing to meet a September 30 deadline for an agreement.

Certares has offered to pay EUR350 million euros (USD339 million) for a 51% stake in the Italian airline, while 49% would remain with the Ministry of Economics and Finance (MEF).