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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 27, 2012 at 9:25 AM

CEO resigns at T-Mobile USA, heads to Vodafone

T-Mobile USA today abruptly announced that its chief executive, Philipp Humm, is resigning.

The stated reason was that Humm wants to spend more time with family in his native Europe, but he’s leaving because he took a job there with another wireless company.

UPDATE: It turns out he’s going to Vodafone, the world’s second largest carrier, where he’ll oversee the business in Germany, the U.K. and Turkey. Here’s a Bloomberg report with more details of Vodafone’s new structure.

The move comes as the company undertakes a broad reorganization and rebranding effort while starting a $4 billion network upgrade, including a spectrum swap with Verizon Wireless announced Monday. The overhaul of the company has involved large layoffs and shuffling of executives at the Bellevue headquarters through the spring.

Humm led 36,000 T-Mobile employees, including around 4,800 in the Puget Sound region, where he pledged to continue adding jobsdespite recent layoffs.

T-Mobile’s chief operating officer, Jim Alling, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement. Alling seems like a strong candidate; he was previously president of Starbucks’ U.S. business and later its international division.

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Humm earlier ran T-Mobile’s wireless business in Germany. Parent company Deutsche Telekom sent Humm to lead its U.S. carrier in 2010. He arrived that May and became chief executive that November. The following year T-Mobile attempted to merge with AT&T.

Humm “is going to pursue a career outside of Deutsche Telekom so as to reunite with his family which stayed back in Europe,” the company said in a release.

DT head Rene Obermann praised Humm in the release, saying he gave the company “some important initiatives over the past years.”

“Under his leadership the cost situation at T-Mobile USA has vastly improved and he led the company during a difficult phase regarding the planned merger with AT&T,” he said, adding that “Now we need somebody who can convert initiatives into market successes.”

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