New IP

DT Hires Europe Boss From Outside Group

Deutsche Telekom is set to appoint a new board member for Europe, with Claudia Nemat vacating that position to focus on technology and innovation, as it transforms its collection of European operations into a single network.

Nemat has previously functioned as the German operator's board member for Europe and technology but will relinquish the Europe job and instead take over responsibility for innovation.

Responsibilities for Europe will transfer to a new recruit to the Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) organization. "At the request of his previous employer, we will not announce his name until next week," said the operator in a statement.

The latest shake-up does not mean Nemat will have no oversight of European operations but reflects the metamorphosis that is underway at Deutsche Telekom, which is replacing the legacy networks that serve individual countries with a single pan-European system. (See DT's Pan-Net Picks Up the Pace.)

In the next few weeks, Deutsche Telekom is set to open a new data center in Hungary that will support services offered across 11 of its 13 European markets. By eliminating platforms dedicated to specific countries, and taking advantage of software and virtualization technologies, the operator aims to slash costs and speed up service development.

Nemat will be charged with overseeing the technical and IT components of the new pan-European network, while the European chief will oversee the sales, service and marketing activities of the individual "NatCos."

In its statement on the move, Deutsche Telekom said the new board member for Europe would bring "internationality" and "market focus" to the role, and that "he knows the business and the company."

"With this new management structure we create an important foundation to successfully shape digitization," said Ulrich Lehner, the chairman of Deutsche Telekom's supervisory board.

Most of Europe's biggest service providers are investing in software and virtualization technologies to bolster efficiency and service capabilities, but Deutsche Telekom's pan-net transformation appears to go much further -- with implications for the organizational structure and internal culture of the German company.

To ensure it can take full advantage of new technologies, the operator is trying to phase out its older PSTN-based systems by 2018, and has already completed the transition to "all-IP" infrastructure in the smaller markets of Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovakia.

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In Germany and some of its other big European markets, however, the operator remains a long way off that target. Earlier this week, Sasha Vorbeck, Deutsche Telekom's head of network development core, suggested that investments in fiber-based access networks might help the company to shut down some facilities, and the platforms they support, more rapidly. (See DT Eyes FTTH Solution to German Opex Issue.)

Besides announcing a European successor to Nemat, Deutsche Telekom has also appointed Thorsten Langheim executive vice president of Group corporate development.

Langheim previously held a senior corporate development role but appears to have been handed beefed-up responsibilities for investment management activities. That will see him look after investments in the US and UK and join board meetings on a regular basis.

Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile US Inc. , the third-biggest mobile operator in the US market, and has a 12% stake in BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), making it the UK incumbent's biggest single shareholder.

Shares in BT are still trading about 7% lower than during the run-up to the UK's referendum on membership of the European Union, which saw a narrow majority of voters opt to leave the regional club. (See 'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone.)

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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