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Chief Brand Officer Hans-Christian Schwingen leaves Deutsche Telekom – Ulrich Klenke to succeed

Ulrich Klenke.
Ulrich Klenke.

Hans-Christian Schwingen (53), Chief Brand Officer of Deutsche Telekom, has decided to leave the company effective April 1, 2020 to pursue new challenges. His successor will be Ulrich Klenke (48), former CEO of the advertising agency Ogilvy and most recently a consultant for Volkswagen.

Schwingen can look back on successful years at Deutsche Telekom: Under his leadership, Deutsche Telekom bundled the previously independent brand activities (T-Home, T-Mobile, T-Online) under a strong international brand “T”. He played a key role in repositioning Deutsche Telekom from a technology-oriented to a value-oriented experience brand. The new brand promise introduced by Schwingen (“Life is for sharing.”) played an important part in this. This also laid the foundation for the organizational merger of the fixed-network and mobile communications divisions to form an integrated, competitive full-service provider on the brand side.

The international brand value studies now list Deutsche Telekom among the Top 3 German brands in the world. “Brand Finance Global 500” lists Deutsche Telekom as the most valuable telecommunications brand in Europe since 2014: In 2008 it ranked fourth, but today it is the undisputed number one.

Tim Höttges, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Telekom: “Hans-Christian Schwingen is a brand expert who is highly regarded throughout the industry. The company owes him a lot. He has given our brand and the corporate color magenta new radiance.”

Hans-Christian Schwingen: “True to the motto that you should leave a party when it’s at its best, after more than twelve years at Deutsche Telekom, I’m now ready to start something new. Before I can think about it intensively, I must get over the old. Now seems like the right time. I can do this with a clear conscience because we have found the right successor in Uli.”

Ulrich Klenke, a proven expert in marketing communication, is his successor. He can look back on twenty years of experience in this field. Like Schwingen, he will report directly to the CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Tim Höttges. In his last position, he spent two years as a management consultant, mainly for Volkswagen. During his time there, Klenke’s main focus of activity was the introduction of the electric mobility brand ID. in 28 European markets.

He began his career at Daimler. There he worked in the early 2000s for the brand and product communication of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge in the German sales organisation of the group. Klenke then moved to DDB Berlin as Managing Director. In 2007 he became head of marketing at Deutsche Bahn, and in 2015 CEO of the renowned advertising agency Ogilvy Germany.

Telekom CEO Tim Höttges: “The Telekom brand has a high social relevance. Ulrich Klenke takes over a great responsibility to develop the brand consistently and sustainably in line with the spirit of the times. His entrepreneurial experience from the agency business and working for major companies undergoing major transformations qualifies him for this challenging task.”

Ulrich Klenke: “Leading a brand champion like Deutsche Telekom into the future is the dream of every marketer. My concept will be agile brand management, with the goal of establishing digital optimism and touching people emotionally. To achieve this, it is necessary to rethink existing structures, to act quickly and in an integrated way and to live out consistent customer orientation.”

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