Marcelo Claure is replacing Dan Hesse as Sprint Corp. (S) CEO, the company announced yesterday.
Mr. Claure, a 42 year old Bolivian entrepreneur, is founder and CEO of Brightstar Corp., which specializes in wireless distribution and services. Brightstar caters to mobile device manufacturers, wireless operators and retailers worldwide. Established in 1997, Brightstar has grown quickly and is now serving more than 50 countries on 6 continents.
Mr. Claure is also the CEO of SB Product Group, the joint product and procurement platform of SoftBank and its affiliates Sprint, Brightstar and Trikomsel. Mr. Claure completed his Bachelors in Economics from Bentley University and received an honorary Ph.D. in Commercial Sciences from Universidad Tecnológica de Santa Cruz.
Mr. Claure joined Sprint’s board in January 2014, after SoftBank invested $1.26 billion for a 56% stake in Brightstar. On August 11, he will replace Mr. Hesse who has been Sprint’s CEO for the past six and a half years.
Sprint has been losing subscribers for quite a while now, and had hoped to compete with bigger telecom rivals by combining forces with T-Mobile. Had the deal gone through, John Legere would have replaced Mr. Hesse. However, Mr. Claure was the favorite of Masayoshi Son who wanted the company to be run by a like-minded entrepreneur.
The Brightstar CEO, however, has no prior experience running a wireless carrier. Mr. Claure will have the difficult task of reversing Sprint’s continuing loss of subscribers. In the second quarter, Sprint lost another 334,000 subscribers bringing the total loss over the past seven years to almost 3 million.
The company has already completed the majority of the overhaul on its network, and by the end of the year hopes to bring new price plans.
In his last memo to company employees, Mr. Hesse, expressed his full faith in Mr. Claure, and said that his “deep knowledge, strong track record in the wireless industry, plus his exceptional relationship with Masa, make him an excellent choice to lead Sprint.”