Deutsche Telekom may name CEO from own ranks

Deutsche Telekom is expected to appoint a new chief executive officer at its supervisory board meeting on Thursday. The favourite...

Deutsche Telekom is expected to appoint a new chief executive officer at its supervisory board meeting on Thursday. The favourite is Kai-Uwe Ricke, head of the group's wireless division.

Ricke has been on the list of potential candidates ever since the German government ousted DT's former chief executive officer Ron Sommer in July. However, it was only after a string of top European executives declined the job that Ricke jumped to the top of the list.

The German government, which owns 43% of DT and orchestrated Sommer's ousting, said it wanted a replacement by November. DT's interim chief executive officer Helmut Sihler also made it clear that he wanted to hand over the reins by the end of this month.

If Ricke is appointed, he will follow in the footsteps of his father, Helmut, who headed the German telecom giant during its transition from being an arm of the postal administration to becoming an independent, global telephone company, majority owned by the government.

The younger Ricke left his job as chief executive officer of the small telephone reseller Talkline to head DT's German mobile operations and later its global activities.

Ricke is viewed as the chief architect of the group's huge investments in third-generation (3G) mobile broadband licences and international expansion, including the acquisition of Voicestream Wireless, which has been renamed T-Mobile USA.

If appointed, he is likely to hang onto T-Mobile, which he sees as a key player in the group's international wireless strategy, despite calls from the financial community to unload the US wireless operations to reduce the group's staggering debt of more than €64bn (£40.7bn).

Rumours have circulated about a merger between T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless Services or Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC Communications and BellSouth.

On Thursday, DT is expected to project losses for the year of around €28bn when it reports third-quarter results. More than €20bn of that will come from a write-down of the company's 3G investments.

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