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Sprint taps new CFO to lead financial turnaround

Former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes will replace Tarek Robbiati as CFO at the end of January.

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Sprint announced on Thursday that it's naming a new finance chief to jumpstart the company's turnaround efforts. The nation's fourth-largest carrier has tapped former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes to replace Tarek Robbiati as CFO at the end of January.

Sprint said Combes has led two of the most successful telecom turnarounds in recent history. First, he led the financial restructuring of indebted France Telecom as it rebranded into Orange, now the the largest fixed and wireless telecommunications operator in France. He went on to lead Alcatel-Lucent and orchestrated its sale to Nokia.

Sprint, meanwhile, has been stuck in its own acquisition drama after merger talks with rival carrier T-Mobile failed for the second time. The arrival of Combes suggests that Sprint hasn't given up hope for a deal with another player.

Sprint has remained at a financial disadvantage among telcos because of its smaller size and the gap in its coverage relative to the bigger players. Looking ahead, Combes will attempt to bring more forward motion to the company's comeback strategy and cost transformation, which include leveraging Sprint's spectrum holdings and improving its network.

"Michel is an extremely capable and accomplished global telecom and cable industry leader and I know bringing him on board will help to accelerate our progress as Sprint begins the next chapter of our transformation," said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "He is a visionary executive with a proven track record of successfully transforming leading telecom and media companies and will help us to execute our strategic plan and strengthen our team."

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