Former T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm Headed to Vodafone

Philipp Humm, who abruptly resigned from his T-Mobile CEO position, will join Vodafone Oct. 1 to oversee portions of Europe. The head of Vodafone Italy will take over the more problematic Southern areas.

Philipp Humm, who resigned from his position as CEO of T-Mobile, the carrier announced June 27, is joining Vodafone, a European rival of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom.

Vodafone has split its chief executive position for the overseeing of Europe, and Humm will become chief executive of Vodafone€™s Northern and Central Europe business€”which includes the U.K. and Germany€”while Paolo Bertoluzzo, currently CEO of Vodafone Italy, will run Vodafone businesses in Southern Europe.

€œLooks like he got a better offer,€ Gartner analyst Phillip Redman told eWEEK, adding that Humm faced a considerable workload at T-Mobile, now left for his yet-to-be-determined successor.

€œ[T-Mobile] is struggling to define itself, is behind on LTE [Long-Term Evolution] launches and needs to improve its metrics,€ said Redman. €œA big task for anyone.€

At Vodafone, which owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, Humm will also need to roll up his sleeves. The European debt crisis has hurt the company€™s growth and service revenues, though its fourth-quarter earnings, reported May 22, exceeded forecasts.

€œOur focus on the key growth areas of data, emerging markets and enterprise is positioning us well in a difficult macroeconomic environment,€ Vittorio Colao, Vodafone€™s group chief executive said in a May 22 statement.

€œOur goal over the next three years,€ Colao added, €œis to continue to strengthen our technology and commercial platforms through reliable and secure high-speed data networks, significantly enhanced customer service across all channels, and improved data pricing models, to enrich customers€™ experience and maximize our share of value in the markets in which we operate.€

The division of the carrier€™s European territories to Humm and Bertoluzzo, say analysts, allows Vodafone to groom two potential replacements for Colao.

Humm will begin his new position Oct. 1. Luckily for him, he has been given €œall the good stuff, the growing stuff,€ Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock told Bloomberg News, €œwhile the Southern economies are seriously afflicted.€

The Wall Street Journal reported June 27 that Humm had planned to leave T-Mobile in September, to return to his family, who had remained in Europe when he took the T-Mobile position in November 2010. The Journal added that before being sent to lead T-Mobile USA, Humm was responsible for Deutsche Telekom€™s mobile business in Germany, though stepped down from that position in November 2008, after taking responsibility for a data breach in which 17 million T-Mobile customers€™ data was stolen.

Humm leaves behind a T-Mobile not only searching for a new head executive€”Deutsche Telekom head Rene Oberman said he has spoken with a number of €œpromising candidates€€”but in the initial stages of an LTE rollout that it€™s hoped will reverse its fortunes.

After AT&T backed away from its proposal to buy T-Mobile in late 2011, the smaller carrier received a compensation package that included approximately $4 billion and some wireless spectrum, which it has invested in a €œnetwork modernization€ strategy that Humm announced Feb. 23.

Humm recently also negotiated a deal with Verizon Wireless to both buy some Advanced Wireless Services spectrum from Verizon and exchange some AWS spectrum licenses with it. Some of the spectrum that Verizon plans to unload is spectrum it will receive through its controversial deal with several U.S. cable companies.

Humm said in a June 25 statement that T-Mobile expects the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the transaction in time for T-Mobile to incorporate the spectrum into its LTE rollout in 2013.

He added, €œThis is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers.€

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