Deutsche Telekom chief waives 2002 stock options

Deutsche Telekom (DT) chief executive Ron Sommer and the other seven members of DT's management board have agreed to waive their...

Deutsche Telekom (DT) chief executive Ron Sommer and the other seven members of DT's management board have agreed to waive their stock options in 2002.

Board members have been under attack since raising their total salaries for last year by 89% and receiving 1.7 million stock options.

The company's supervisory board, the spokesman said, will decide within the next three weeks how many stocks will be issued to executives this year. This year another 3,000 executives expect to receive stock options.

Criticism of Sommer is growing louder by the day. Under his leadership, the telecom company posted its first loss last year and its shares fell below €10 (£6) for the first time last Friday (14 June). DT currently has debts of around €67bn (£43bn).

In a speech to German businesses in Berlin on Monday (17 June), Sommer defended his investment strategy. The development of the telecom sector, he said, "has lost none of its dynamics". The sector still boasts growth rates that would make companies in other sectors "more than happy," he said.

But Sommer conceded that the telecom industry is in the midst of a "hard consolidation phase".

Pointing to one of DT's more successful ventures, Sommer said the company has signed up 2.5m digital subscriber line customers. The German telecom company has the largest DSL customer base of any operator in Europe.

On average, the operator has been signing up more than 70,000 new customers per month, according to the company spokesman.

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