Brightstar CEO to bring Sprint up to speed

07 August 2014 |


Bolivian billionaire and new Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is expected to refocus the company following its failure to acquire T-Mobile US.

Former CEO at Brightstar, Claure will replace Dan Hesse, who has led the company through a difficult decade of declining subscriber numbers and lost revenue.

Masayoshi Son, founder at Sprint's parent company, SoftBank, had been pushing ahead with a public campaign for the acquisition of T-Mobile US, while simultaneously working on a plan to appoint a new CEO and increase subscriber numbers at Sprint.

Sources claim that Son and Claure met in Tokyo in 2012, in a meeting to discuss Claure's Brightstar, where further talks led to Claure delaying his return flight home to the US. The pair created a joint phone buy-back program in Japan later that year.

When Claure floated the Brightstar sale, Son said he would buy the company himself and in October 2013, SoftBank made the acquisition in a $1.26 billion deal. He then placed Claure on the board at Sprint.

Sources have said that Claure is the "natural choice" to lead Sprint, given his entrepreneurial spirit and instincts to take on big industry incumbents. No other candidates were considered.

Hesse may have steered the company away from bankruptcy upon his appointment in 2007, but there are clear signs that he has not managed to control its losses over the past seven years.

"A 'controlled entity' like Sprint can be most effective when the majority owner and the CEO are fully aligned and are great partners," Hesse said in a goodbye note to Sprint staff on Wednesday. "This is the right time in Sprint's evolution for Marcelo to take the reins and get the most benefit from our relationship with SoftBank."

Yesterday, the company confirmed that although it was still looking at industry consolidation in the US, it is now concentrating on improving its overall operations.