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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
German press rues Telekom damage
Deutsche Telekom boss Ron Sommer reads resignation statement
Sommer finally quit his post on Tuesday
The German press wearily shook its collective head over the outcome of Deutsche Telekom's leadership struggle, concluding that few of the main players emerged from the affair with much credit.

"There are only losers", the popular tabloid Bild declared.

Bild had some sympathy for the predicament of outgoing Telekom boss Ron Sommer, saying he had acted in the best interests of the phone company and that his decision to resign deserved respect.

"Ron Sommer struggled to the end. For his job and for the reputation of Telekom. Finally he gave up - so as not to damage the trademark..."

"... and because he had had enough of the shabby political wheeling and dealing over Telekom," the paper added.

Political football

Most of the press lamented the fact that the Telekom affair had become such a political football, with both Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and opposition leader Edmund Stoiber getting involved in the debate over who should succeed Mr Sommer.


The unseemly squabbling over the leadership of one of the great German companies is finally over

Handelsblatt
Bild derided Mr Schroeder's handling of the affair, saying "even his closest political allies could only shake their heads" over his attempts at crisis management.

The business daily Handelsblatt echoed the "there are only losers" theme, saying the list included Deutsche Telekom's employees and ordinary shareholders as well as senior figures in the company and most of the country's leading politicians.

The only positive thing to come out of Tuesday's events was the fact that "the unseemly squabbling over the leadership of one of the great German companies is finally over," the paper said.

Crisis continues

The Berliner Zeitung said that although the power struggle centred on Deutsche Telekom was over for the time being, the crisis it had sparked off had not really gone away.


Schroeder has exposed himself to attack on the economic front

Berliner Zeitung
"Telekom has been damaged, its directors have been damaged, and the chancellor and government have also emerged damaged from the Telekom debacle," the paper said.

It predicted that Mr Schroeder could turn out to be the most damaged in the long term.

"Schroeder, who came to office as a chancellor for the economy, has exposed himself to attack on the economic front."

Campaign issue

Another Berlin paper, Die Welt, said it was possible that once the dust raised by the dispute had settled, it could emerge that the damage done was more far-reaching than previously thought.

The paper said Mr Schroeder and his rival Mr Stoiber had to bear most of the blame for making who should run Deutsche Telekom an election issue, but that the company's supervisory board had not exactly emerged unscathed from the affair.

It said the chairman of the board, Hans-Dietrich Winkhaus, had "shown little evidence of leadership and struggled not to lose his nerve under political pressure".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

16 Jul 02 | Business
15 Jul 02 | Business
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