Sprint CEO Dan Hesse makes it perfectly clear where he stands on the prospect of AT&T buying T-Mobile-and why he says it would be "disastrous" to the telecom industry.
Hesse is one of the few instantly recognizable CEOs in the world. And it isn't
the company he heads, is one of the largest, most recognizable companies in the
world because, frankly, it isn't. Yet on the "I know who that guy is" scale, Hesse
ranks up there with Apple's Steve Jobs, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, Donald Trump
and a small circle of other CEOs.
a couple of reasons for that: a calm, reassuring personality and the widespread
commercial television and Web exposure that takes him to the world at large.
Hesse initially wanted no part of a television commercial campaign.
reason I do them- and I just finished doing my 10th one-is that they get rated
really, really highly," Hesse (pictured)
said. "When our advertising agency asked me if I
would do a television commercial, I said I didn't want to do it. I asked them
if CEO-type ads work, and they said: -Only about one in seven, but when they do
work, they work extremely well.' "The reason ours work really isn't likeability.
The audience knows when they're seeing a real person, and they pay
attention-they remember. So we do them, and they seem to work. And I've saved a
lot of money for the company by not having to hire an actor."
has done a lot more than that for the company, analyst Roger Entner, founder of
Recon Analytics, told eWEEK. He noted that when Hesse took over at Sprint in
2007, "People were wondering when Sprint was going to die. "He not only turned
the company around, but it's growing, and his workforce loves him. He's got
internal approval ratings that would make most guys blush-it's 90-plus
believes that the Sprint television commercials featuring Hesse "have helped to
a fair extent in improving the company's image because people associate Dan
with the company. [They] remember him, and they remember what Sprint stands
Talks; People Listen
saving all that cash, Hesse has become one of the leading spokesmen for the
telecom industry. When he speaks, people listen. Hesse, who earlier this year
was elected the new chairman of the international CTIA (Cellular Telephone
Industry Association), made a presentation June 16 at Stanford University's
Graduate School of Business as part of a weeklong CTO Forum conference.
Addressing a select group of CTOs and CIOs from large corporations, Hesse
assessed and commented on the current state of the U.S. and global telecom
business. He also made sure that everyone knew where he stood on the proposed
acquisition of a key competitor, T-Mobile, by another competitor, AT&T.
couldn't be clearer about his opinion of two of his most aggressive competitors
possibly joining forces in the global telecom marketplace. Naturally, he's
against it, although in 2004, he was in favor of the last big telecom merger-
Sprint Nextel-even though he wasn't Sprint's CEO at the time.
the very first time in my career of 34 years, I'm opposing an acquisition or
takeover," Hesse stated. He called AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile
"just a bridge too far." Hesse claimed it would be "disastrous for consumers
and the U.S. economy." He added that the merger would lead to less competition,
which would result in "a lot more regulation than we have now."