03 May 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
SoftBank has given Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure a lifeboat to jump into after T-Mobile US takes over Sprint next year.
The company today said he will be chief operating officer of
the SoftBank Group and CEO of SoftBank Group
SoftBank said that, in his new role, Claure will work closely
with Masayoshi Son, the boss of SoftBank, and Rajeev Misra, who
is CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisors, in "managing the
operations of SoftBank’s increasingly global
portfolio of companies".
He will also be executive chairman of Sprint, handing over the
CEO role to Michel Combes, who has been CFO until now.
Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group, said: "Marcelo has
done a remarkable job in turning around Sprint, which in fiscal
year 2017 delivered the best financials in the
company’s history, and has positioned the company
as the true leader in the race to 5G, and he has fulfilled my
original vision of combining Sprint with T-Mobile to create a
company that will drive American leadership in mobile
When Sprint and Deutsche Telekom’s
T-Mobile US announced plans to merge, it was clear that
T-Mobile people would take the leading jobs in the combined
company – including Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim
Höttges as chairman.
It was unclear at the time of Sunday’s
announcement what roles Claure and Combes would have. Claure
came into SoftBank five years ago when it bought a majority
stake in mobile phone distributor Brightstar. SoftBank moved
him into Sprint as CEO in 2014 after the first attempt to merge
it with T-Mobile US failed, replacing Dan Hesse.
Combes is a more recent arrival, joining Sprint in January 2018 from Altice to
replace former CFO Tarek Robbiati. Combes previously headed
Vodafone Europe, and then Alcatel-Lucent before it was bought by
Nokia. He then joined Altice as CEO until leaving abruptly
last November as the company’s financial
SoftBank said that Claure "will be responsible for ensuring
that all group companies and investments are meeting the
financial and operating objectives, as well as managing group
synergies and transformations".
"Marcelo has been a close and trusted advisor for many years
and, after watching him at Brightstar and Sprint, I can say he
is an entrepreneur and operator unlike any other," said Son.
"His energy, integrity, global mindset and leadership skills
will provide tremendous value to SoftBank."
Claure said: "I look forward to continuing to work with the
Sprint board and management team on our turnaround and planned
integration with T-Mobile. Both SoftBank and Sprint are fully
committed to delivering American consumers the
world’s best and fastest 5G network and together
with T-Mobile we intend to fulfil that vision."
Claure and Son will be on the board of the combined
T-Mobile/Sprint if regulators approve the merger, which is
expected to be complete in about a year.