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O2 Germany appoints double act for CEO and CSO roles

Young couple singing and playing guitar

Telefónica Germany says Markus Haas and Rachel Empey, the senior management double act, have been left in charge as CEO and Chief Financial Strategy Officer respectively.

After existing CEO Thorsten Dirks decided he wanted out last month, the board has moved relatively swiftly – well, bureaucratically speaking – to elevate superstars Haas and Empey to the top table.

Telefónica confirmed its Germany operations will be run by Haas. But he’s going to be forced to work closely with Empey, the CFSO. Telefónica didn’t specifically say he’ll be forced, per se, but in its announcement it did say: “Markus Haas will lead Telefónica Deutschland in close cooperation with Rachel Empey,” with the bold formatting weirdly included.

Haas and Empey seem to come as a pair anyway, with the two making a bizarrely co-dependent statement when the European Commission gave Telefónica the green light to pick up E-Plus back in 2014. That must have been one of the last times the Commission gave permission for one major mobile operator to buy another; especially since it has been on a consolidation freeze frenzy over the past 18 months.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce the appointment of Markus Haas as the new CEO of Telefónica Deutschland,” said Eva Castillo Sanz, Telefónica Deutschland’s chairperson. “Markus Haas and Rachel Empey have proved to be a very strong leadership team in the past years and will drive the further transformation of the business to the Leading Digital OnLife Telco in Germany. The internal succession is a clear signal of continuity for our shareholders, employees and business partners in the execution of the integration and transformation processes. The supervisory board is looking forward to continuing our further successful collaboration with Markus Haas and Rachel Empey.”

In Haas’s previous life as COO, he and Empey led the aforementioned merger of E-Plus with existing O2 Germany operations. And, in case you missed it, that was a pretty big deal, with E-Plus at the time accounted for 21% of German mobile subscribers compared to O2’s 18%.

Both Haas and Empey will be feeling a tad more secure in their roles too, with contract extensions running for them each until the end of 2019 and 2018 respectively.


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