clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sprint names Brightstar founder Marcelo Claure as new CEO

New, 47 comments

Replacing Dan Hesse, CEO for nearly seven years

Sprint is naming Marcelo Claure, founder of the wireless solutions company Brightstar, as its new president and CEO. His position will begin next Monday, on August 11th, when he will succeed outgoing executive Dan Hesse, who has served since 2007. "Marcelo is a successful entrepreneur who transformed a start-up into a global telecommunications company," Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son says in a statement. Son's statement makes it evident why Sprint's owner, Softbank, is looking to Claure to turn around Sprint's fortunes. He founded Brightstar in 1997, and as of last year it was bringing in $10.5 billion in revenue.

Softbank will acquire the remainder of Claure's company

Claure's appointment also follows Sprint's decision not to pursue an acquisition of T-Mobile. Son reiterates that for now, Sprint's focus will be on making the best of what it has. "While we continue to believe industry consolidation will enhance competitiveness and benefit customers," Son says, "our focus moving forward will be on making Sprint the most successful carrier." Claure's first goal will be to expand Sprint's network while leaning on its existing spectrum.

Softbank became a large investor in in Claure's company Brightstar earlier this year, and now Softbank plans to outright acquire it. Following that investment in January, Claure has actually been serving on Sprint's board of directors. "I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend the past few months actively engaging with Sprint’s board, management team, and front-line employees," Claure says in a statement. "I am honored to have the opportunity to now lead the Sprint team as we mobilize to become the wireless carrier of choice in the US."

Though Hesse, Sprint's outgoing CEO, seems to be widely liked in the industry, Sprint's been consistently underperforming beneath him for some time now. With its potential acquisition of T-Mobile now a thing of the past, Softbank appears to have seen this as the pivotal moment for a leadership change to turn Sprint's performance around.

Claure's initial plan is to make Sprint's operations more cost efficient as he attempts to reposition it as a more competitive wireless provider.  Though Sprint is by all means one of the top names in the US, it's still far behind AT&T and Verizon Wireless, and its presence has increasingly been overshadowed by the newly boisterous T-Mobile. That's certainly a growing concern for Sprint — one that its interest in simply acquiring T-Mobile readily speaks to — and Softbank is clearly hoping that Claure will be the one to help Sprint take over the spotlight.