December 6, 2012 / 1:56 PM / 5 years ago

Telekom Austria seeks technology chief for top management

VIENNA, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Telekom Austria wants to add a new executive in charge of technology to its top management, the company said on Thursday.

The board decided on Monday to appoint a third executive to work alongside Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter and Chief Financial Officer Hans Tchuden, a spokesman for supervisory board chief Rudolf Kemler said.

He added that negotiations had also begun to extend Ametsreiter’s contract, which is due to end in December 2013.

The new technology executive will also take a leading role in Telekom Austria’s operations in eastern Europe, where its growth markets are, and finding synergies between its businesses in those countries, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Telekom Austria referred questions on the new role and on Ametsreiter’s contract to Kemler.

Both matters are expected to be settled in the first half of next year.

Telekom Austria has warned on profits and slashed its dividend since Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim agreed to take a major stake in June. Its shares are down about 40 percent since then as it battles fierce domestic competition.

Slim also bought a large stake in Dutch telecoms operator KPN this year, and Telekom Austria has said the two have begun to explore possible synergies.

Kemler was elected to Telekom Austria’s supervisory board in October, along with Oscar van Hauske Solis, an executive in Slim’s America Movil Latin American telecoms group.

Kemler represents Austrian state holding company OIAG, which is Telekom Austria’s biggest shareholder with a 28 percent stake. America Movil holds 23 percent directly and indirectly.

A takeover by Hutchison Whampoa’s 3G of France Telecom’s Orange Austria is expected to take the pressure off Austian market prices, cutting the number of rival network operators to three, but the deal has been on hold for almost a year while the European Union decides whether to approve it. A decision is expected later this month.

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