Obermann likely to replace Ricke

FRANKFURT — Deutsche Telekom CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke will step down today from Europe’s biggest telecommunications company, the company said.

On Thursday, Deutsche Telekom reported a 20% dip in its third-quarter net profit and slowing growth in most of its markets, with the exception of its lucrative U.S. cellular business.

Analysts said the board and two of Deutsche Telekom’s main shareholders — the German government, which holds 32%, and private equity group Blackstone, which has 4.5% — were unhappy with the slide in profit.

Ricke, who took over as CEO four years ago, made the decision after the company’s board met Sunday.

Wire reports, citing people familiar with the supervisory board meeting, indicated Rene Obermann, CEO of the Bonn-based company’s wireless unit, was likely to be tapped as Ricke’s replacement.

Shares of Deutsche Telekom closed down 2.4% Friday at E13.14 ($16.90).

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