Telekom Austria CEO to Step Down as Slim Reshapes Company

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Telekom Austria AG said Chief Executive Officer Hannes Ametsreiter will step down at the end of next month amid a push by majority shareholder America Movil SAB to cut costs and introduce new services.

Ametsreiter “has asked the supervisory board of Telekom Austria AG for a mutually agreed premature termination of his contract,” the Vienna-based company, which is Austria’s largest phone company, said in a statement Monday.

Ametsreiter, 48, is a Telekom Austria veteran of almost two decades. Since taking over as CEO in April 2009, Telekom Austria shares have fallen more than 40 percent. The company has a market value of 3.8 billion euros ($4.3 billion), less than the 4 billion euros in revenue it received in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Carlos Slim’s America Movil is Telekom Austria’s single largest shareholder after it pooled its stake with that of the Austrian state last year and made a public offer to minority shareholders. Telekom Austria has since extended cost cuts and slimmed down management in its eastern European units. It also plans to introduce a streaming service that’s similar to America Movil’s Clarovideo offering.

Telekom Austria’s sales have fallen by more than 16 percent since 2009 as intense competition at home added to regulatory headwinds and sluggish economies in eastern Europe. The company predicts a return to full-year growth as its profits from booming demand for data used in music and video streaming.

Extended Term

Ametsreiter’s term was extended for three years in 2013, with an option for two more years. A decision on whether Ametsreiter would get to serve the full five years would have had to be taken before the end of the year, Telekom Austria spokesman Andreas Perotti said.

Under the rules agreed between America Movil and the Austrian state, the country’s state holding company has the right to nominate a successor for Ametsreiter. The topic will be discussed at the next supervisory board meeting, Telekom Austria said, without giving a date.

America Movil in March nominated Alejandro Plater, an Argentine former Ericsson AB executive, as Telekom Austria’s chief operating officer and deputy to Ametsreiter.

Telekom Austria’s shares fell 3.7 percent in Vienna to 5.75 euros, the lowest since Feb. 16, at 1:56 p.m. local time. The Stoxx 600 Telecoms index was down 1.2 percent.

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