Deutsche Telekom's new CEO faces twin tests

Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:07am EST
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By Harro Ten Wolde and Leila Abboud

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - When Deutsche Telekom's new Chief Executive Tim Hoettges takes office on Wednesday, a revival of mergers and acquisitions in the sector and a dramatically changing competitive landscape in Germany will pose his biggest challenges.

Having negotiated key deals in the United States and Britain during his four-year tenure as finance chief and having previously turned around the German fixed-line business while under fire from cable rivals, the 51-year-old is no stranger to the territory.

Hoettges will draw on such experience to decide how Deutsche Telekom, Europe's third-largest telco by sales, should navigate consolidation on both sides of the Atlantic and take on a rejuvenated Vodafone in Germany.

Born in Solingen, a city in the prosperous eastern state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hoettges is said to be straightforward, traditional and intense, unlike his long-time friend and outgoing CEO Rene Obermann, who is known for his easy charm.

"Hoettges is not known for schmoozing corporate colleagues or politicians," said another banker who worked for him.

"He handles such relations in a cool and businesslike way. He is not the kind of person who is buddies with politicians and the rich and beautiful of the world."

Hoettges treads a more adversarial path.

"Unlike some CEOs, he wants to be contradicted," said another banker who has worked with him. "He wants an intense discussion and will challenge you, too. He's also like that in negotiations: clear goals, minimal compromises."   Continued...

Then Deutsche Telekom AG member of the board of management Timotheus Hoettges attends the company's general shareholders meeting in Cologne in this May 16, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/Files