Former T-Mobile USA CEO defects to rival Vodafone Group

Former T-Mobile USA chief executive Philipp Humm, who left the company on Wednesday, will join rival firm Vodafone Group later this year.

Former T-Mobile USA chief executive Philipp Humm has joined Vodafone Group, after leaving the company less than 24 hours ago.

Former T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm (Credit: T-Mobile)

Former T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm (Credit: T-Mobile)

The Deutsche Telekom-owned company issued a statement on Wednesday announcing Humm's immediate departure.

On Thursday morning, he was named Vodafone Group's chief for northern and central Europe division.

Humm's departure was sudden and unexpected to those outside the company, despite internal memos suggesting it had been in the works for some time. Humm's family stayed in Europe as he took on the T-Mobile USA chief executive's role in 2010, and said he planned to return to reunite with them.

But a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed a leaked memo from Deutsche Telekom chief executive René Obermann that Humm would join one of the company’s competitors "in the future."

Or as it so happens, today.

Vodafone is creating two new operational regions as part of a wider company reshuffle. Humm will be in charge of a northern and central Europe unit, which includes Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, Turkey, Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, according to Bloomberg.

Also named today was Paolo Bertoluzzo, who will head the company's southern Europe business, an upgrade from Vodafone Italy's chief, which will includes Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Albania and Malta.

Humm will start his new job on October 1, and will join Vodafone Group's executive committee.

T-Mobile USA's chief operating officer Jim Alling has taken on Humm's duties and was named as the company's interim chief executive until a successor can be found.

Obermann appeared to twist in the knife in his public statement on Humm's departure, noting how Humm had given the company "some important initiatives" and how he had "vastly improved and led the company during a difficult phase."

He ended his lacklustre commentary with: “Now we need somebody who can convert initiatives into market-successes.”