The head of Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica resigned on Thursday after a series of corruption scandals, including an inquiry into a subsidiary headed up by his wife, an official said. A shareholder meeting ruled that chairman Pier Francesco Guarguaglini will be replaced by current chief executive Giuseppe Orsi. Guarguaglini last month was forced to fend off allegations that his company created slush funds and paid off politicians. Guarguaglini "states in no uncertain terms that he has never created illegal funds nor has ever paid or ordered anyone to pay money to politicians or political parties," the corporation said at the time. Guarguaglini was responding to a series of leaks from a corruption and tax fraud investigation in the company that were published in Italian newspapers, adding to pressure from heavy losses in the first nine months of 2011. Finmeccanica makes artillery, helicopters, jets and rockets, employing 75,200 people worldwide. Its shares have plummeted in recent days. Italian authorities last year launched an inquiry into no-bid contracts awarded by the civil aviation agency Enav to Selex, which is part of Finmeccanica and is directed by Guarguaglini's wife, Marina Grossi.