Deutsche Telekom boss to move to Dutch cable operator

The CEO of German operator group Deutsche Telekom, René Obermann, is leaving the firm to head up Dutch national media and communications services provider Ziggo. Obermann will assume the role on January 1, 2014.

Obermann has been at Deutsche Telekom for 15 years and CEO at the operator since 2006. In December 2012, the operator announced that his contract will be terminated at the end of 2013, with CFO Timothy Höttges to succeed him.

He said that his decision to take on the role of CEO at Ziggo was fuelled by his desire to “move closer to operational activities” and to be involved in a “fast changing world of offering products and services in media and entertainment”.

“Ziggo therefore makes an ideal match and I look forward to starting as CEO,” he added.

Of his time at Deutsche Telekom, Obermann said: “Today, DT is defined by a culture of fairness and open co-operation. And the company also has a solid financial foundation. In short: this is the right time to prepare to pass the baton and ensure a smooth transition. “

Ziggo owns a next-generation-network which is 98 per cent fibre-optic, with an average of 300 metres from its customers’ front doors, the firm said. It was formed by the merger of Dutch cable television providers @Home, Casema and Multikabel. The network’s coverage extends across Netherlands.

According to Stephen Hartley, principal analyst on Ovum’s mobile analyst team, Deutsche Telekom has one of the more pragmatic approaches to the industry, which René Obermann has fostered over the years.

“They seem to appreciate what their role is in the ecosystem and understand how to give the best partner for application developers and service providers in this new world, which obviously attracts the best application developers and service providers onto that network, which in turn attracts the most valuable customers,” he said. “That’s quite a pragmatic approach. It doesn’t mean that they’re giving up on any value-added services, it just means that they see where they fit in.”

Hartley added that because Obermann wants to get close to the operational level, he can see it being quite a good fit.

“Going to a service provider and taking that insight and that pragmatism to a more operational level, you can see it reaping some reasonably quick dividend for Ziggo, operationally. Just that outlook and that perspective would be good for Ziggo.”

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