Deutsche Telekom Technology Chief Ed Kozel Said to Step Down

Ed Kozel, the Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) board member in charge of technology and innovation, plans to leave at the end of this year after 20 months in office, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Kozel, who oversees the phone company’s push into new businesses including media distribution and software applications, told the supervisory board that he would step down for family reasons, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing board deliberations. Chief Executive Officer Rene Obermann plans to take over Kozel’s responsibilities, the person said.

The executive, born in 1955, joined Deutsche Telekom in May last year and has been responsible for the Scout24, Musicload and Clickandbuy consumer service operations. He previously served on boards of Cisco Systems Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Reuters. Deutsche Telekom tasked him with achieving as much as 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in sales from online consumer services by 2015 as the company seeks to compensate for lack of growth in phone services.

Growth in new business fields will become more important for Germany’s former phone monopoly if it completes a deal to sell its U.S. wireless business to AT&T Inc. for $39 billion. The two operators are fighting a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department, which aims to block the sale because it says it would reduce competition.

Cost-Cutting

Kozel has also been involved in efforts to reduce Deutsche Telekom’s expenses and boost margins. In April, he announced an agreement with France Telecom SA to jointly purchase network equipment and mobile phones, which he said may save the German company more than 400 million euros after three years.

The supervisory board will probably decide on Kozel’s request in a Dec. 15 meeting, the person said, adding that the manager may be open to advising Deutsche Telekom after returning to California.

Deutsche Telekom declined to comment and Kozel couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Handelsblatt newspaper reported the resignation earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Frankfurt at crahn2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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