Telekom Austria CFO quits as Slim deal looms

The chief financial officer of Telekom Austria is to leave the operator at the end of May, in what is seen as a move to open the way for Carlos Slim to select a successor who would be more amenable to his plans.

Without providing a reason or any further explanation, Telekom Austria said merely that that the supervisory board of Telekom Austria Group and Hans Tschuden have agreed to prematurely dissolve Tschuden's contract by May 31, 2014. Tschuden has been CFO of Telekom Austria since April 1, 2007.

Tschuden is regarded as a fairly outspoken member of the Telekom Austria board: "Tschuden does not allow himself to be dictated to by others--he's no puppet," unnamed sources close to Telekom Austria told Reuters.

Slim's América Móvil "probably wanted their own man or own woman", the sources added.

América Móvil is expected to make a move to gain more influence over the European operator after it has negotiated a shareholder agreement with state holding company ÖIAG.

ÖIAG currently owns 28.42 per cent of Telekom Austria and América Móvil owns 26.84 per cent, meaning that they would hold a majority stake in the company once their stakes are pooled. This would trigger a mandatory offer for the remainder of Telekom Austria shares as the combined stake would be above the 30 per cent threshold.

América Móvil CEO Daniel Hajj said in February that his company has big plans for its stake in Telekom Austria and is not out to make a fast buck in Europe. The CEO also said he had been irritated by América Móvil's failure to buy a majority stake in Dutch operator KPN because of resistance from a KPN foundation.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Telekom Austria statement

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