Shareholder representatives praised the Board of Management at Deutsche Telekom's annual shareholders' meeting – especially for its decision to sell T-Mobile USA. CEO René Obermann explained the Group’s strategy and ongoing transformation process.
The Board had handled its tasks in "a calm, determined way," said Klaus Kaldemorgen of DWS investments. The decision in the USA was not an easy one, Kaldemorgen added. It "deserves our special respect." He also noted that DT shares had "developed at least satisfactorily," when compared to similar companies. Jella Benner-Heinacher from the Deutsche Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz (DSW) spoke of a "genuine act of liberation" in the US, but also asked how the Board intended to cope with the situation in Greece. Lars Labryga, from the Schutzgemeinschaft der Kapitalanleger (SdK) was another to comment that the Board had "put up a good show," albeit it in difficult circumstances.
Kaldemorgen questioned the plan to largely use the proceeds from the U.S. transaction to pay off debts and repurchase shares. As an alternative, he suggested using the money to strengthen DT's competitive edge against the cable companies in Germany. Labryga described CEO René Obermann’s speech to the shareholders as "an authentic description of the problems faced." Obermann had stressed the need for change: "We are already facing the next massive task of transforming and innovating our company. We are evolving the traditional Telekom – which is still heavily regulated and too immobile in structural terms – into what we call a 'telco plus'. That means we are building the networks of the future and are complementing our traditional line business with cloud and Internet-based services." Self-critically, Obermann added that "it still takes far too long to turn good ideas into marketable products. But even if we improve considerably on that front, we won't be able to do it on our own. We need partnerships and one or two specific additions to our portfolio. And I'm not talking about take-overs worth billions upon billions – we're not planning any of those at the moment." DT plans to virtually double revenue from its new growth areas by 2015. "Of this, we achieved over 1.5 billion euros in 2010 – and, in the first three months of 2011, revenues grew again by another 400 million euros." The meeting passed all the motions by the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board – including the proposed dividend of 70 eurocents per share.