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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sprint Dumps Hesse for Brightstar Chief, Puts T-Mo Pursuit on Hold

Sprint has named Marcelo Claure as the company’s next president and CEO, replacing Dan Hesse.

With the change also comes a change in strategy, most notably a backing off from the company’s quest to acquire T-Mobile USA. The combined company would have created a third national wireless carrier that could hold its own against AT&T and Verizon.

“While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and re-positioning Sprint,” Claure said.

Claure, 43, joined the Sprint Board of Directors in January and is the founder and CEO of Brightstar, which, like Sprint itself, is a subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank Corp.

Since founding Brightstar in 1997, Claure has grown the company from a small Miami-based distributor into a global specialized wireless distributor, with $10.5 billion in gross revenue for the year ended in 2013. 

“Marcelo is a successful entrepreneur who transformed a start-up into a global telecommunications company,” said Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son. “He has the management experience, passion and drive to create the strongest network and offer the best products and services in the wireless industry. While we continue to believe industry consolidation will enhance competitiveness and benefit customers, our focus moving forward will be on making Sprint the most successful carrier.”

Claure will resign his position at Brightstar effective August 11; SoftBank announced it would acquire Claure’s remaining interest in the company.

“I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend the past few months actively engaging with Sprint’s Board, management team and front-line employees,” said Claure. “I am honored to have the opportunity to now lead the Sprint team as we mobilize to become the wireless carrier of choice in the U.S. In the short-term, we will focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace.”

Claure succeeds Hesse, who joined Sprint as president and CEO in December 2007 and led the company through a series of acquisitions, including the merger with SoftBank, and a multi-year overhaul of its nationwide network, including the shutdown of the Nextel network.

“I’m proud of the resilience of Sprint’s people during a difficult transformation and I’m optimistic about how they will build on a foundation of innovation to succeed in the future,” Hesse said. “It’s been an honor to have led such dedicated teammates for more than six-and-a-half years. Marcelo has been a great addition to Sprint’s Board and his entrepreneurial background, business savvy, industry experience and strong relationship with Masayoshi Son make Marcelo an excellent choice to lead Sprint going forward.”

Claure will be based at Sprint headquarters in Overland Park, KS, and plans to relocate to the Kansas City area.

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