Sprint Says Goodbye to CEO Hesse's Steady Fortitude

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-08-12 Print this article Print
Sprint Dan Hesse

"Hesse was a nice in between," said Dawson. "As a human being, he's a great guy, and he was one of the most approachable, human CEOs out there. … You felt that he was being very nice and open and charming … and he would actually tell you what he thought, not just give you the talking points."

The 43-year-old Claure, it seems, has a bigger personality, more in line with the very driven and outgoing Son.

In its introduction of Claure, Sprint said that its new CEO had built Brightstar into a $10.5 billion business, was a selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and had several times received Entrepreneur of the Year and CEO of the Year awards.

In his letter, Hesse described Claure and Son as having "an exceptional relationship," and said that Claure could "get the most benefit from [Sprint's] relationship with Softbank." (Softbank owns a 78 percent share of Sprint.)

But of course, there's only room in the industry for one Legere-style personality, said Hyers.

"Sprint needs to play the straight man [to T-Mobile] and make the point that, we can offer the same quality, and we don't have to play blue to do it," Hyers said with a chuckle. "It needs to be edgier than AT&T and Verizon, which obviously aren't edgy in the first place. And T-Mobile appeals to a young demographic, which Sprint needs to go after, but in a little more mature way."

What else does Claure need to do?

"Basically, the last year at Sprint has been about acquiring Clearwire, fending off Dish, rushing the switch to LTE and making the T-Mobile deal happen. All of these things have taken considerable management attention," said Hyers.

"Now, they need to focus on the LTE build-out, network coverage, and really growing the business organically," Hyers continued. "They need to focus on the day-to-day business of running a wireless network."

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.


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