It's official: Marcelo Claure is the new CEO of Sprint, replacing Dan Hesse, who has served as the mobile network's CEO since 2007. The change of leadership is effective August 11.
Given Sprint's recent subscriber struggles and scant profits, there will be plenty of pressure on Claure to work some turnaround magic. Not only has the mobile network been consistanly losing its highly profitable customer segment of net contract subscribers, Sprint's complete network replacement also managed to stifle its customer growth, as the overhaul led to more dropped calls in construction areas and impacted the network experience for users.
But at least Claure appears to have the chops to take on the challenge. As the founder and CEO of Brightstar Corp., the wireless distributor that's majority-owned by Softbank, Claure has a deep history in the wireless industry.
Claure founded Brighstar in 1997 and managed to expand the company's wireless footprint throughout major US carriers before it became part of the Japanese powerhouse Softbank.
Softbank acquired Sprint last summer, and Claure has been serving on the Sprint board of directors since Softbank's Brightstar takeover in January. He also holds a position on Brightstar's board, but will vacate that position on the same day he takes the helm at Sprint.
Claure said in a statement that as the new CEO, his short-term focus will be on "becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace. While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint."
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Corp. and chairman of Sprint, also issued a prepared statement regarding Sprint's future and the newly appointed CEO:
Marcelo has proven to be a visionary and execution-driven leader capable of delivering growth and shareholder value. The Sprint board is inspired by Marcelo's vision for the future of Sprint and strongly supports him.
The leadership change comes at the same time Sprint made the decision to end its pursuit to acquire rival telecommunications firm T-Mobile.