Medieval Italy was beset with warring factions like the Guelphs and the Ghibellines or, in Shakespeare’s telling, the Montagues and Capulets. Today’s corporate scene sometimes seems similar, but investors shouldn’t be put off.

Assicurazioni Generali , one of Europe’s largest insurance companies, is under siege. The board wants shareholders to renew the mandate of incumbent Chief Executive Officer Philippe Donnet at a meeting on April 29, and has the backing of top shareholder Mediobanca , a Milanese bank. But the second-largest shareholder, cement tycoon Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone , last week proposed a different board of directors, including veteran Generali executive Luciano Cirinà as CEO, who was promptly fired for volunteering to replace his boss.

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