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Deutsche Telekom CEO steps down

With immediate effect

The chief executive officer of Deutsche Telekom AG 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 Kai-Uwe Ricke on his resignation, which takes effect immediately, following a meeting in Bonn, Deutsche Telekom said on Sunday.

Ricke was appointed CEO on 15 November 2002, succeeding Ron Sommer, who lost his job after plunging Europe's largest telecoms service provider into debt and allowing its stock to free-fall. Sommer spent billions of euros acquiring 3G (third-generation) mobile phone licences and expanding the company's footprint through international acquisitions, such as VoiceStream Wireless in the US.

Deutsche Telekom named no successor to Ricke, but René Obermann, currently in charge of the group's mobile phone operations, is expected to become the company's 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 €65bn (about £44bn) to less than €40bn (£27bn) 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.


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