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By Jennifer Yousfi
Earlier this week (Tuesday), Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) named Daniel R. Hesse, 54, as president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.
Hesse replaces Gary Forsee who resigned in October under growing pressure from the board of directors due to continued loss of subscribers and operational troubles resulting from the Sprint and Nextel Communications merger.
The third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, Sprint Nextel has lost customers in four of the past five quarters, the Financial Times reported. The board was concerned about losing even more customers to the two largest carriers – AT&T Mobile and Verzion Wireless – and looked to Hesse, a 23-year telecom veteran, to helm the company through these difficult times.
"Dan Hesse is the right person to lead our company," said board member Irvine O. Hockaday, Jr., who chaired the board's CEO search committee, in a statement. "He is a proven leader with deep wireless experience as a chief executive and an established track record of generating strong operating performance. He has the board's full support to take decisive actions necessary to improve our performance."
Hesse served as CEO of Sprint's Local Telecommunications Division for one year prior to the spin-off that created Embarq Corp. (EQ) in 2006. He has served as Embarq’s CEO since the firm’s inception. Prior to joining Sprint, Hess spent 23 years at AT&T (T), including serving as the president and CEO of AT&T Wireless Services from1997 to 2000. At that time, AT&T Wireless was the United States' largest wireless operator.
Just last month, while still searching for a new CEO, struggling Sprint Nextel spurned a $5 billion investment from Providence Equity Partners and South Korea-based SK Telecom Co. Ltd. (SKM) because the offer was contingent on naming Timothy Donahue, former executive chairman of Sprint Nextel and Nextel Communications CEO prior to the merger, as chief executive. The board refused to meet with them to discuss their offer.
"I am honored and excited to lead Sprint Nextel at this important time in its history," said Hesse after the announcement. "There is no company in the wireless industry with a stronger set of assets. I believe through solid execution and commitment to our customers we can reinvigorate our operating performance and return the company to a growth trajectory. We will review every aspect of our strategy as we intend to lead Sprint to the forefront of the wireless industry."
News and Related Links:
- Financial Times:
Telecoms veteran to head Sprint