Ricke resigns from Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke will step down from Europe's biggest telecommunications company, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Ricke, who took over as CEO four years ago, made the decision after the company's board met on Sunday.

He had been under pressure from shareholders who were unhappy with the company's lowered profit and sales forecasts amid fierce competition in its home market of Germany.

German media had been rife with speculation that Ricke's tenure was on the edge after the company reported a 20% dip in its third-quarter net profit and slowing growth in most of its markets, save for the lucrative cellular business in the US, the report said.

A replacement was not immediately named, but Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing people familiar with the supervisory board meeting, that Rene Obermann, the CEO of the Bonn-based company's wireless unit, was likely to be tapped to replace Ricke, the report added.

In a brief statement, Deutsche Telekom only said that 'the supervisory board will discuss, and may resolve on, Ricke's succession as CEO in a meeting' on Monday.

The company did not say why Ricke resigned, but analysts had said that the board and two of Deutsche Telekom's main shareholders, the German government, which holds a 32% stake, and private equity group Blackstone, which has 4.5%, were unhappy with the slide in Deutsche Telekom's profit and share price.

Shares of Deutsche Telekom closed at 13.14 euros ($16.90), down 2.4%.

Ricke is the second high-profile German CEO to be forced from his job in less than a week, the Associated Press report further said.