--T-Mobile USA CEO steps down abruptly
--Philipp Humm leaving to join competitor in Europe
--Search for replacement already underway
(Updates throughout with details and comments)
By Thomas Gryta
T-Mobile USA, a unit Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE.XE DTEGY), said Chief Executive Philipp Humm is stepping down to take a job with an unnamed competitor in Europe.
The company named Jim Alling, chief operating officer of T-Mobile, as interim CEO and said that a search for a successor is already under way. The move comes as the wireless company is struggling to keep up with larger U.S. rivals and upgrade its network after AT&T Inc.'s (T) $39 billion bid to acquire the company fell apart amid antitrust concerns.
Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Rene Obermann has said that selling the T-Mobile unit is unlikely, but the company is exploring other options including the sale of its wireless tower portfolio.
In a letter to T-Mobile USA staff released Wednesday, Mr. Obermann said Mr. Humm informed the company in April that he intended to leave at the end of September so he could return to his family in Europe. Mr. Humm's exit was sped up after he informed Mr. Obermann "a few days ago" that he would be joining a competitor of Deutsche Telekom.
A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom declined to name Mr. Humm's new employer.
Mr. Humm joined Deutsche Telekom in 2005, and was initially responsible for the company's mobile business in Germany.
He stepped down from that position in November 2008, taking responsibility for a massive breach of customer data in 2006, when around 17 million T-Mobile customers' data was stolen. Mr. Humm has led T-Mobile since November 2010.
Mr. Obermann said in the letter that he has spoken to "a number of promising candidates" to succeed Humm.
-Write to Thomas Gryta at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Philipp Grontzki contributed to this article.)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 27, 2012 13:18 ET (17:18 GMT)
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