Deutsche Telekom CEO stepping down as CFO steps up

Deutsche Telekom CEO's has asked for permission from the board to terminate his contract by the end of next year.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann has announced that he will be stepping down from his post by the end of next year.

In a statement issued on Thursday, it was revealed that Obermann asked for his contract to be terminated, effective December 31, 2013.

The current chief financial officer, Tim Höttges, will step up as the interim CEO in 2013 as the telecommunications giant tries to smooth out the transition. Höttges will officially succeed Obermann as CEO on January 1, 2014.

Höttges joined Deutsche Telekom in 2000, initially serving as CFO of the company’s German mobile subsidiary. He was promoted to CFO of the global enterprise in 2009, and he has since overseen projects involving Orange-owned France Télécom but also the failed sale of T-Mobile USA to AT&T.

Obermann is leaving Deutsche Telekom after 16 years -- including seven years of which he spent as chief executive.

As for his future plans, the Germany-based corporation cited that Obermann wants to "move closer to operational activities than would otherwise be possible for the CEO of an international corporate group and take on even more entrepreneurial activities.

"I want to go back to having more time for customers, for product development and for technology," Obermann added, in prepared remarks.

Despite all of the glowing and optimistic statements from other executives at Deutsche Telekom, Bloomberg described this move as a "surprise departure."

Additionally, Ulrich Lehner, chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Telekom, admitted that he regretted Obermann's decision, noting in the announcement, "I respect his step, even if I would have very much preferred to continue our successful cooperation."

With many people revving up for the holidays and the end of the year looming, there have been many executive changes lately.

For example, both Akamai and Garmin revealed earlier this week that they have appointed new CEOs -- both of whom were hired from within the company.

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