The chief executive officer of Deutsche Telekom has resigned after failing to find a strategy to retain customers of the company’s landline services and improve its share price.
The supervisory board reached an agreement with CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke on his resignation, which takes effect immediately, following a meeting in Bonn, Deutsche Telekom said Sunday.
Ricke was appointed CEO on Nov. 15, 2002, to succeed Ron Sommer, who lost his job after plunging Europe’s largest telecommunications service provider into debt and allowing its stock to free-fall. Sommer spent billions of euros acquiring third-generation mobile phone licenses and expanding the company’s footprint through international acquisitions, such as VoiceStream Wireless in the United States.
Deutsche Telekom named no successor to Ricke, but Rene Obermann, currently in charge of the group’s mobile phone operations, is expected to become the company’s new CEO, according to media reports citing a member of the supervisory board.
At the helm of Deutsche Telekom, Ricke successfully reduced the group’s debt from more than 65 billion euros (US$83.5 billion) to less than 40 billion euros at the end of September. But he was unable to stop declining revenue in its traditional landline business, as competitors with lower fixed costs nibbled away at its customer base for voice services.
-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)
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