UPDATE 1-Telecom Italia picks Flavio Cattaneo as new CEO
* Cattaneo to replace Marco Patuano who resigned March 21
* First tasks include INWIT stake sale, Brazil unit fate
* Picked because of T.Italia exposure, political links -sources (Adds details, context)
By Agnieszka Flak and Stephen Jewkes
MILAN, March 30 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia has appointed state-industry veteran Flavio Cattaneo as chief executive to replace Marco Patuano, who resigned over what sources said were clashes over strategy with top investor Vivendi.
Milan-born Cattaneo, already a board member at Telecom Italia, takes over as the former state phone monopoly steps up investments in an ultrafast broadband network, a pet project of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who wants to get Italy up to speed with the rest of Europe.
The decision after a two-hour board meeting on Wednesday was unanimous, one source added.
"Cattaneo's someone who knows how to speak to the market and he'll need that given all the challenges Telecom Italia faces," a person who knows the executive said.
Cattaneo inherits a heavily indebted company whose revenues have declined steadily amid tough competition in its mature home market and which is now also grappling with an economic downturn in Brazil, its key foreign market. Continuación...