T-Mobile USA reported that CEO Philipp Humm resigned effectively immediately, with current COO Jim Alling assuming the CEO responsibilities on an interim basis as the carrier looks for a new leader. Humm left the Deutsche Telekom umbrella for Vodafone, joining DT’s rival as CEO of its Northern and Central European operations effective Oct. 1.
Humm previously served in various management positions across Europe for DT before moving to handle the telecom giant’s North American operations.
“[Humm's] appeal is not so much for what he did or did not do during his time at T-Mobile USA, rather it is about getting someone who understands Vodafone’s northern European markets well, and someone who can hit the ground running from the start,” noted Emeka Obiodu, senior telecoms strategy analyst at Ovum, in a statement.
Perhaps taking a dig at Humm, DT CEO Rene Obermann noted in a statement: “Now we need somebody who can convert initiatives into market-successes.”
On joining Vodafone, Humm looks to have supplied an equal re-tort: ““Vodafone is a powerful brand with a strong focus on the customer coupled with a clear strategy for growth. I look forward to joining the team,” Humm noted in a statement.
Obermann noted earlier this year that it was unlikely DT would unload its U.S. operations, though rumors continue to circulate about a potential partnership. Humm’s decision could signal a new shift for the carrier, which has had its fair share of distractions.
Bottom Line: Humm’s decision comes at a critical time for T-Mobile USA which is in the midst of trying to re-establish its credibility in the domestic wireless space following its lost 2011 (thanks AT&T!). Recent announcements regarding LTE plans, a network overhaul and more recently a spectrum swap with Verizon Wireless show that the carrier is not afraid of making bold moves, but the loss of its leader shows that all is not well internally.
DT’s decision on T-Mobile USA’s next leader will be crucial for the company in trying to re-assure analysts and the wireless community that the company’s plans remain on track. That leader’s qualifications will also be closely scrutinized in order to discern T-Mobile USA’s future direction, with increasing rumors surrounding either a network tie-up with another wireless operator or a potential initial public offering in order to generate much-needed fiscal resources to continue its evolution.