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One day after Philipp Humm’s surprise resignation from T-Mobile, Vodafone(s vod) announced he has joined its ranks. Humm won’t just be supervising one of Vodafone’s numerous European subsidiaries – he will take charge of eight of them: Germany; the UK; the Netherlands, Turkey, Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania.
That explains Humm’s sudden departure. T-Mobile USA’s parent company Deutsche Telekom is one of Vodafone’s biggest competitors. In fact, by running Vodafone Germany Humm will be going head-to-head with T-Mobile Germany, the DT subsidiary he once led.
Vodafone announced the appointment as part of a larger European reorganization. Vodafone is splitting the continent into two operating regions. Italy CEO Paolo Bertoluzzo will run the second region which encompasses southern Europe and includes Vodafone’s carriers in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Albania, and Malta.
The move is definitely a step up for Humm. While T-Mobile USA is a huge operator by European standards, it’s the smallest of the U.S. Big 4 by far. In several of the countries Humm will be supervising, Vodafone’s carriers are the No. 1 and No. 2 players. He no longer has to assume the role of the scrappy challenger.
Humm won’t assume his new Vodafone mantle until Oct. 1, which is the day after his contract with Deutsche Telekom officially ends. It’s now pretty clear Humm isn’t being punished for his role in the AT&T-Mo debacle. Quite the opposite, he’s being rewarded with an even more important job (albeit by a different company).
That leaves T-Mobile in a bit of turmoil. It needs to scramble to find a permanent CEO while in the process of overhauling its network, launching LTE and executing its new “challenger strategy.” As I wrote yesterday though, the last thing a new T-Mobile CEO should do is try to ‘shake up’ the company, as new chiefs are wont to do. Humm and team had put together a compelling plan to take on T-Mobile’s larger rivals, and whomever winds up running T-Mo should give it a chance to work