Paul Wilson: Sprinting Towards Chaos — Insider’s Edition

New Sprint boss Marcelo  Claure hanging with J-Lo at his birthday party

New Sprint boss Marcelo Claure hanging with J-Lo at his birthday party

While your well coiffed scribe is trying to enjoy 10 days at my condo, overlooking the magnificent emerald green waters of the Gulf, my email started blowing up from various Sprint employees on what was going down back on the Campus…

On Monday, with Sprint head Dan Hesse knowing that the tea leaves had already been read concerning his fate, issued the following internal email:

“To all senior leaders,

I want to take this opportunity to let you know that Steve Elfman, our President of Products and Services, will be leaving Sprint later this month.

As we announced late last year, Steve had agreed to stay on at Sprint until this coming January. Due to Steve’s efforts, these transition and integration efforts are both ahead of schedule.  As a result, Steve will now be leaving us on August 15.”


Because in two more days Hesse would announce his own departure and replacement who has all the experience needed to pick products and load the market with them. Oh and did I mention that he’ll be coming aboard with his own team?

At 7:30am yesterday, I received the email released to Sprint employees from main man and class act himself, Dan Hesse. It read, in part:

paul wilson“Dear Sprint teammates,

Effective August 11, Sprint board member and Brightstar Founder and CEO, Marcelo Claure, will replace me as Sprint CEO. Marcelo’s experience, deep knowledge and strong track record in the wireless industry, plus his exceptional relationship with Masa, make him an excellent choice to lead Sprint going forward. I have the utmost confidence in Marcelo.”

With that, the stage was set for what will now be the non stop shuffle as Sprint matriculates towards the Left Coast.

As we mostly all know, rumors have been flying that Sprint had backed out of the T-Mobile merger.

We may never know who pushed what button, but my sense is Hesse told his boss it looked like an uphill battle. Concurrently Masa Son – essentially Sprint’s owner – most likely asked Hesse to go find his sword and act accordingly.

As one of my Sprint sources told me, “In Son’s world, if the plane goes down, it’s your fault and nothing else matters.”

That’s only speculation from insiders on the Sprint Campus, but I bet it’s pretty close.


John Legere

John Legere

That prompted the ever vocal and unconventional T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, to take to Twitter with his sour grapes rants that have been running pretty much non stop since he abandoned left at the altar.

Follow him if you’re bored, it’s a lot of good reading if you’re into sports, which I am not.

@TMobile has surpassed @Sprint – we’re now #1 in prepaid wireless! Sorry @marceloclaure, you’re already behind!

Looks like @sprint has a new #framily member… and he’s got a lot of framily therapy to do, asap. #justsayin

Join T-Mobile now and jump off the Sprint bus before it crashes! #framily #unleash

If you’re a @sprint customer, you’re in the middle of a #framilyfued and it’s time to up and go! To @TMobile #hadto

On August 11th Marcelo Claure will become Sprint’s President and CEO.

He was named to the Sprint board this past January, the same month SoftBank officially closed on the purchase of Claure’s  global wireless distribution company Bright Star.

Can you say orchestrated?

Claure and Son are tight, whereas Son simply tolerated Hesse.

Sprint will pay Claure $1.5 million a year in salary, on top of a $500,000 signing bonus, and provide potential performance-based bonuses that could double his salary or more, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Claure also will receive potential stock and options awards worth $24 million when granted to him, the filing said. In those same documents is Sprint’s requirement that he “live” within 50 miles of Overland Park.

An interesting side note: that same document also states Claure has full access to Sprint’s jets for personal or private use, including a pre approved trip “home,” once a month, to see his family in Florida.

The Carriage Club pool Where would J-Lo hang?

The Carriage Club pool
Where would J-Lo hang?

Home is where the heart is, not a piece of real estate in Kansas.

So who is this guy and where did he come from?

Here’s Claure’s account of how it all came about:

“I got my first business – a small wireless retail business – for free from the owner because he was fed up with it,” he once told the South Florida Business Journal. “We were able to turn it into a leader in wireless retail in New England.”

From there Claure built Brightstar into the largest Latin phone retailer going, selling 47% of it to Softbank for just over a billion dollars. He will turn the other shares over to Softbank with this transition for another billion plus.

Claure’s also the hit of South Beach where his wife and two kids live.

His 40th birthday party was loaded with stars and music provided by J Lo, Marc Anthony and the Gypsy Kings. 

The biggest objection the market has against Claure is his lack of experience in running a public company.

Listen people, this dude took a free, burned out cell phone retail store and is walking away with over $2 billion after just 16 years. I think he’s going to be just fine running Sprint.

I don’t however see him hanging out for very long at the Carriage Club or Plaza.

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28 Responses to Paul Wilson: Sprinting Towards Chaos — Insider’s Edition

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Is the Sprint brand so badly damaged it is an anchor on the business moving forward? Though great strides have been made they were still at the bottom of the barrel.

    As they say, a new broom sweeps clean.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      No, Orphan, it’s not. Hesse did so much to clean up customer care, that was huge. But from my time there I’ve always preached Sprint has an internal culture and the culture became the customer.
      I was asked in the Ron LeMay days to take it on and teach “that side” of the business how “we” developed products and services so quickly. I knew unless you could come in with that broom you’d fail; sure enough, there were too many sacred cows.
      This is a bright guy, if he has nerves of steel and Son’s trust, he may pull it off; he’s done bigger things!

  2. the dude says:

    As one of my Sprint sources told me, “In Son’s world, if the plane goes down, it’s your fault and nothing else matters.”

    If he is ‘old school’ Japanese like it seems he is job Seppuku is the only acceptable option and Hess was smart enough to see it.

  3. harley says:

    as the japs say…..wislun fell on his sword again!!!!
    come on…get real!
    get ready for the real expose on what really happened.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      And hopefully that will be coming from you and totally unintelligible!
      Oh, that’s right, Hearne’s AFRAID for you to right the big stories, like your “second one ” that never came to pass.
      Take your meds and don’t operate motorized vehicles.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        Wilson, is he from Rich Hill and the guy in The Pitch today?

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Of course he is. Lives by Red Bridge, summers in Rich Hill! He’s got a thing with R’s, retard.

          • Orphan of the Road says:


            “Harley, to get his medication adjusted, somebody from Kansas City had to drive down [to pick him up], so it’s about an hour and a half to drive him half an hour away to Butler, where he could talk to a doctor on a television screen,”

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Orphan, Harley talks to the TV screen all day! No news there.

          • mike t. says:

            but he was able to hijack the comments.

          • harley says:

            I make one statement…just to get wislun riled
            up…and to be truthful I know nothing about this
            sprint saga he writes about…then next thing
            the guy is in a rage and as the guy below said
            I hijack the comment section.
            now that’s funny. The power of Harley!!!!!!!!!
            to manipulate an entire group of people with
            one simple comment. Harley rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            who cares about sprint. I made wislun look like
            a complete fool the last sprint story he wrote.
            that was good enough for me!!!!!!!!
            I have no story cause I’m laughing so hard that
            he fell for the bait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            youor friend

  4. balbonis moleskine says:

    You gotta admit you were pants on head wrong on this one predicting a merger.

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    Balbo, you are partly correct. My DC contacts said it would get regulatory approval, and it would have. Sprint QUIT; I have no control over that, I said it WOULD GET approval. I stand by that.
    There is likely a story behind the story and I’m after that one now.
    But overall , you’re correct; it didn’t happen.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      As Steve Goodman told Bob Dylan at Carly Simon’s party, after Bob sang George Jackson, Well, they can’t all be Masters of War.

      Don’t go all harley on us with defending your position. It’s only you and me and we just disagree.

    • harley says:

      wislun is always wrong. I[ve proven it. But it still doesn’t mean he
      doesn’t try. He tries to prove me wrong and again he’s wrong.
      doesn’t make him a bad guy. still ready for that beer at outlaws
      wislun….we’d have a blast….because Harley knows how to have fun.
      as you said “it didn’t happen”….but you can make good on your
      promise to meet the famous Harley. I accept you for who you are…
      a guy who’s seen the ups and downs of life just like the rest of us.
      you’ve battled thru some tough times and still come out with a smile
      and a great attitude.
      wislun…no matter what insuots you throw at the great Harley…I still
      love ya and still don’t know what I ‘d do if you weren’t on kcc to
      haggle with.
      you know where I am….come by….when you ring my door bell i’ll recognize
      you and will shake your hand as if we’ve been friends for years.
      good luck…
      your friend

  6. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Meanwhile over in Missouri, a company that knows what it’s doing and isn’t a total clusterfuck like Sprint, Cerner buys out Siemens HIT for $1.3 billion, and does it with cash on hand. No debt instruments.

  7. harley says:

    hey wislun…who’s your d.c. contacts? Heidi fleiss??????????????????????????????

  8. paulwilsonkc says:

    Orphan, you are a wealth of example and life lessons…… Im glad to know you.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      I’m just the Paris of the Plains version of Forrest Gump.

      • Stomper says:

        now that’s funny.

        • Orphan of the Road says:

          Stomper, we need a get-together of the KC Confidential Commentators.

          We can have it at Knuckleheads on a Sat or Sun. Pete, the sound man, is also a bailbondsman so we have cover.

          First drinks on me. (I’m clumsy)

          • Stomper says:

            Orphan, that sounds good to me. The first time you made reference to attending Temple in the early 70’s I knew we had common experiences as I was just down the road in DC. My brother attended school in Philly and I spent a lot of weekends there, especially after tasting my first Philly Cheesesteak. My calendar is a mess with my youth sports involvement but if HC can set something up, I’ll make every attempt to be there. Thanks !!

          • harley says:

            AFTER THE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. paulwilsonkc says:

    Its a banner day, Harley finally admits he doesnt know $hit about what he comments on, not that thats new news.
    Harley, stop with the Outlaws offers, you have my number, you can call me, but you know you dont have the balls for that. You’d never meet anyone in public and you know it.
    Im wrapping up 10 days at our condo on the Gulf, be back Monday, feel free to call any time…….

    • harley says:

      yeeeeehaaaaa wislun….yaaaahoooooooooooooooooo……
      I don’t know a bout all these gandis you quote and the b.s. you write about.

    • the dude says:

      Wilsun lays down the gauntlet while harlinator scoops up the dried up poop flakes around his bunker under the Overland Park Sewage Treatment Plant No.3!!

  10. Jack Springer says:

    Goodbye Sprint — enjoy California.

    Will AMC or Sprint move first … houses in JoCo begin your depreciation now!

    • the dude says:

      We need to start a ‘leaving KC pool’. Get on this harlinator.
      I vote Sprint to go first.

Comments are closed.