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:
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.
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.
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.
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.