05 January 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Sprint has appointed former Altice CEO Michel Combes as CFO, replacing Tarek Robbiati, who leaves at the end of the month.
Combes was fired from his job at Altice in November 2017 after worsening
financial performance. His previous position, as the last CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, ended with the
troubled equipment vendor being taken over by Nokia.
"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 Marcelo Claure, CEO of
Sprint, whose controlling shareholder is the Japanese group
"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," said Claure.
The CEO also paid tribute to Robbiati, a former Telstra
executive who joined Sprint as CFO in August 2015.
"Tarek’s contributions to Sprint have been
invaluable including his leadership to drive operating cost
reductions and execute innovative financial transactions to
fund our turnaround and significantly reduce the
company’s cost of capital," said Claure.
Robbiati spent two years with Orange in London and Paris but
then joined Telstra in November 2005, where he was deputy CFO
before becoming CEO of CSL, the mobile operator in Hong Kong
that was then part of the group. He then became group managing
director of Telstra International, still in Hong Kong.
Claure said: "Today Sprint is in its best liquidity position in
years and that is in large part due to the financial discipline
and innovative financing that Tarek implemented."
Sprint was in merger negotiations with Deutsche Telekom-owned
T-Mobile US until November 2017, when they failed to agree on
the structure of a combined unit.
Shortly after, Sprint said goodbye to Günther Ottendorfer, chief
operating officer technology, who said he was returning to
Vienna, where he’d previous been CTO of the
Telekom Austria group, at the end of 2017.
Combes said of his new role: "This is an exciting challenge and
unique opportunity to help lead a distinguished company through
an historic turnaround and its most exciting period yet."
Before joining Alcatel-Lucent he was CEO of Vodafone Europe and
was earlier chairman and CEO of TDF, a French tower
Combes has been an advisor to Brightstar, the company founded
by Claure, to support its global expansion. "I have known
Marcelo for many years and am delighted to join the Sprint team
and build upon the great progress achieved to date," said