Telekom Austria parts with CFO after America Movil conflict

Operator group Telekom Austria has parted ways with group chief financial officer Hans Tschuden. His exit appears to be over a conflict with the operator’s Works Council concerning Latin American operator group America Movil, which recently increased its shareholding in the firm.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the operator group said that its supervisory board and Tschuden have agreed to “prematurely dissolve” his contract. He will remain at the firm until May 31st 2014.

Telekom Austria’s supervisory board consists of four members delegated by the Central Works Council; an organisation representing Telekom Austria’s workers, and one member delegated by the Trade Unions of Telekom Austria. The five members represent one third of the board and its voting rights. The other ten members of the supervisory board consist of members elected at the annual general meeting.

A source at the operator told that Tschuden’s departure was fuelled by a conflict with the board members representing the Works Council and mentioned that a key topic of discontent was America Movil. The LatAm operator, through its holding company Carso Telecom, increased its stake in the firm to just over 25 per cent in January.

The departure of Tschuden comes three years before the expiration of his contract, although there was an option in his contract to terminate it in 2015. He had been in the role since April 1 2007 and Tschuden was named Austria’s leading CFO for the past two years in Thomson Reuters ‘Extel Awards’.

“I would like to thank Hans Tschuden for his strong contribution during his many years as CFO of Telekom Austria Group in particular for his role during the growth phase of the company, said Rudolf Kemler, chairman of the supervisory board of Telekom Austria Group. “I wish him all the best for his future endeavours.”

America Movil has been gradually increasing its ownership of Telekom Austria and in January, CEO Hannes Ametsreiter told that not only does he expect to see increased investment in Europe’s telecom sector but that some European telcos could even see their headquarters relocate outside of the region as a result. However, he insisted that he was speaking in general terms and not about his own organisation.

Telekom Austria added that its supervisory board will announce Tschuden’s successor “in a timely manner”.

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