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Philipp Humm, the CEO of Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA, has resigned from the position, according to an announcement this morning. The official news release says that Humm will pursue a career outside of Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA’s parent company, to reunite with his family in Europe.

Philipp Humm

But in an internal memo to employees, obtained by GeekWire, Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann goes further: “The reason Philipp has vacated his position with such short notice is because of his new employer: Philipp informed me a few days ago that he will be joining a competitor of Deutsche Telekom,” Obermann writes.

Humm, who took over as T-Mobile USA CEO in November 2010, led the company through the unsuccessful acquisition bid by AT&T, and had been overseeing its turnaround effort since that acquisition fell apart in the face of regulatory opposition. He will be replaced by chief operating officer Jim Alling on an interim basis, while the company looks for a permanent successor.

The memo, designated for internal distribution only, doesn’t identify the competitor. T-Mobile USA referred an inquiry to Deutsche Telekom officials.

[Follow-up, Thursday: Vodafone hires former T-Mobile USA CEO in Europe]

Here’s the full text of the memo, which was sent to all T-Mobile USA employees at 9:15 this morning.


I want you to hear the news directly from me: Philipp will be on leave with immediate effect. You might ask yourself, why I’ve taken this decision? Well, here is some background: In April, Philipp informed me that he intended to end his contract at the end of September.

During the merger process, we had agreed on such an option, just in case the merger did not materialize. Philipp told me back then that he wants to pursue a career outside of Deutsche Telekom and to reunite with his family, who have stayed in Europe. I decided back then to start the search for a successor. This search is progressing well. I have spoken to a number of promising candidates.

The reason Philipp has vacated his position with such short notice is because of his new employer: Philipp informed me a few days ago that he will be joining a competitor of Deutsche Telekom.

I have asked Jim Alling to lead the company until a final decision on a successor has been made. Jim is a respected senior leader who has my complete trust and confidence and that of the entire Deutsche Telekom Board of Management. Change of leadership has implications for both employees and the entire company, particularly when it comes to the period of transition. With this in mind, I would like to appeal to all of you to support Jim. I personally wish him the best of success.

I want to thank Philipp for his nearly two years with T-Mobile USA. His contribution to cost efficiencies and the development of the Challenger Strategy has given the company some important initiatives. With a new leader at the helm, our challenge will be to develop these initiatives into measurable success in the market.

I will be back in Seattle in mid-July to discuss next steps with the Management Team, including further business development.

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for your excellent work—particularly over the past few months. The successful upgrading of our network, building up our B2B business, re-launching the brand and the many other initiatives that we have started will bear fruit and will make us even more competitive.

Thank you and all the best,


René Obermann

CEO of Deutsche Telekom

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