The Business On... Rene Obermann, Chief executive, Deutsche Telekom

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The Independent Online

He sounds like a pillar of the German establishment.

He is, though the police raid on his home must be a little embarrassing.



Tell us more.

It turns out that German prosecutors investigating bribery allegations against Deutsche Telekom raided Mr Obermann's home last month. Both he and the company deny all the allegations and described the raid as "disproportionate" yesterday.



So what are these allegations?

There's an ongoing investigation involving both US and German authorities into whether Deutsche Telekom offered bribes in Macedonia, where the Government had been thinking of opening up the telecoms market to competition. It denies the charges.



Mr Obermann can't be pleased.

Indeed not. Until now, the 47-year-old has led something of a charmed life in the business world. He got the top job at Deutsche Telekom four years ago, making him the youngest chief executive of a blue-chip German company, and has since done a number of eye-catching deals – including the plan to merge Deutsche Telekom's UK operations with those of Orange. He's also avoided getting caught up in another Deutsche Telekom scandal – a former security manager at the company is currently on trial over the way leaks to the press were investigated.



The corporate guy?

Unusually for a head of a large German company, Mr Obermann's background is more entrepreneurial. Aged just 23, while studying at Munster University, he launched his own company selling telecoms equipment. Eventually he sold it to the Asian giant Hutchison Whampoa. He joined Deutsche Telekom in 1998 and moved through the ranks quickly.



A fast mover, then?

In every sense. When he's not defending himself against bribery allegations, Mr Obermann enjoys running the odd marathon or two. He's also the proud owner of an MV Agusta, one of those high performance Italian motorbikes.

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