* Rene Obermann contacted by Lufthansa - papers
* Internal candidate Carsten Spohr seen as favourite
FRANKFURT Jan 28 German airline Lufthansa
has contacted the former chief executive of Deutsche
Telekom in its hunt for a new chief executive, German
media reported, although sources said he was unlikely to topple
the current favourite candidate.
Rene Obermann, former CEO of Deutsche Telekom, had taken up
the top job at Dutch cable operator Ziggo only this
month, but has found himself back on the job market after the
operator agreed a takeover offer from U.S. firm Liberty Global
Germany's largest airline has been looking for a new CEO
since September, when it was announced that Christoph Franz
would leave at the end of May 2014 to become chairman at Swiss
pharmaceuticals company Roche.
Lufthansa chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber is interested in
Obermann and the supervisory board has been in contact with the
manager, Handelsblatt and Rheinische Post newspapers reported on
Tuesday, citing company sources.
However, company sources told Reuters Obermann was an
unlikely fit. Lufthansa also has a history of promoting internal
candidates to the top job.
"The only qualification that Obermann has is his experience
in managing a former state-owned group," one person familiar
with the search said.
"Mayrhuber is casting the net as wide as possible so that he
can say later that any potential suitable candidate was
evaluated," the person added.
Carsten Spohr, head of Lufthansa's passenger airlines
business, is regarded as the top candidate for the CEO job and
analysts have said he would be best placed to continue the
group's current cost-cutting programme.
Another person said the fact the process was taking so long
was because Lufthansa wanted to give Spohr more time to
restructure the passenger unit.
A spokesman for Lufthansa said on Tuesday the group would
not comment on speculation, adding the supervisory board would
evaluate any external or internal candidate that matched the job
The supervisory board is next due to meet on March 12.