Carsten Schloter, head of Switzerland’s largest telecommunications company, Swisscom, has been found dead at his home in Villars-sur-Glâne near Fribourg, the company has confirmed. He was 49.This content was published on July 24, 2013 - 07:56
An inquest will determine the circumstances of his death, but police are currently treating the death as suicide. Further details were not given out of respect for the family. He was separated from his wife, with whom he had three children.
Schloter, a German national, joined Swisscom in 2000 as the head of the firm's mobile-communications division and had been CEO since 2006.
He had studied economics in Paris, where he spent much of his youth. He began his career at Mercedes-Benz in France.
In one of his last interviews, Schloter described himself as a victim of modern communication, always on the go, and said it was all too easy to get lost in the stream of information. “I find it increasingly difficult to unwind," he told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper in an interview in May.
Swisscom said deputy CEO Urs Schaeppi would temporarily lead it. Founded in 1998, Swisscom is a private company with the Swiss government as main shareholder. It has more than 19,000 employees.
Communications minister Doris Leuthard said she had taken note of Schloter’s unexpected death “with great dismay”. She extended her sympathy to his family.
“Swisscom has lost an outstanding boss and the Swiss economy a major figure,” she said in a statement. “Carsten Schloter has successfully positioned Swisscom in a highly competitive and rapidly changing market, thus further strengthening the public service.”
Swisscom rival Orange spoke of a “black day for the telecom sector, which has lost one of its best managers”.
In a statement, Orange said no one had made more of an impression on the sector than Schloter. “He was a really far-sighted, analytical and warm colleague, who despite the tough competition was always a thoroughly fair competitor.”
An obituary in Wednesday’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in Zurich called Schloter a “driven visionary”.
Two things stood out, it said, when one met the born-Bavarian for the first time: his sing-song speech pattern and his presence. These, “combined with his appearance – tan, blond hair gelled at the back – and his German passport were why his appointment as Swisscom CEO in 2006 was greeted with a fair amount of mistrust. He seemed affected. A bit like a dandy.”
Seven years later, the paper continued, “one hears – in addition to great sadness – above all praise and recognition. From politicians, rivals, even from the authorities and the cabinet”.
In compliance with the JTI standards