October 07, 2002, 9:35 AM — The chief executive officer (CEO) of Deutsche Post AG, Klaus Zumwinkel, has crossed his name from the list of possible candidates to take over the helm of heavily debt-laden Deutsche Telekom AG following the departure of Ron Sommer earlier this year.
On Monday Zumwinkel said in a statement that he intends to remain CEO of Deutsche Post and lead the logistics company's global expansion. That statement should put an end to speculation that began last week and intensified over the weekend about the 58-year-old executive abandoning one majority-owned government company to head another.
Zumwinkel is credited with restructuring Deutsche Post, taking it public and expanding both its operations and international footprint.
The search for a new CEO at Deutsche Telekom is proving to be more difficult than expected, according to people familiar with the situation.
In-house candidate Kai-Uwe Ricke, head of DT's wireless operations T-Online International GmbH, has yet to win over a majority of the group's supervisory board. Although Ricke is a highly popular executive among colleagues and partners, his youth (41 years old), his closeness to Sommer who hired him, and his responsibility for wireless, which is at the heart of DT's financial woes, are factors complicating his appointment as CEO.
A number of executives outside DT have been approached about the job but declined. Late last week Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG, and Hans-Olaf Henkel, former president of the Federation of German Industries and former president of IBM Deutschland GmbH, said they weren't interested.
Whoever takes over at DT must push through some tough restructuring measures. Although this is a difficult task in almost any enterprise, it's particularly arduous in a company majority owned by the government. In the end, it was none other than German Chancellor Gerhard Schr