Last week, American network carrier, Sprint, struck a $26 billion deal to be bought by fellow wireless phone operator, T-Mobile. This deal, upon completion, has the potential to reshape the U.S. wireless industry.
Sprint also announced results for its fiscal fourth quarter and year, saying the company recorded its highest-ever annual profit, boosted by the new U.S. tax law. The company reported post-paid phone net additions of 55,000 in its latest quarter, referring to the most valuable type of customer who pays monthly for service. It added 42,000 such customers in the same quarter last year.
Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Group Corp., has named Marcelo Claure its new Chief Operating Officer.
Marcelo Claure was previously the CEO of Sprint. As part of the transition, Claure will become Executive Chairman at Sprint and Sprint’s CEO post has been given to Michel Combes, currently the Chief Financial Officer.
In his new roles, Claure will continue to work on the Sprint/T-Mobile combination, which still faces a challenging regulatory review in Washington before it can close.
“(Claure) was given a horrible hand to play, and he played it as well as he could,” said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research LLC. “He was given a broken asset and wasn’t given the resources he needed to turn it around. But he rescued it, and that in itself was a victory. Under a less steady hand, the company could have failed.”
In an interview, Claure said his priority would be working to complete the T-Mobile deal by persuading U.S. regulators to approve the agreement. Then, with his background as entrepreneur and operator, he will work with SoftBank-backed companies on strategy and operations. He also wants to take more advantage of collaboration between the portfolio companies. “Startup companies always want to come someplace where there is more than just money,” he said.