Hesse To Take Over As Sprint's CEO

Sprint Nextel's new chief executive, industry veteran Daniel R. Hesse, may bring serious change to the struggling wireless carrier, saying he will reevaluate its controversial high-speed Internet strategy and consider moving the company's headquarters from Reston.
Hesse, 54, yesterday took the helm of the country's third-largest wireless company, a position that has been vacant since October when Gary D. Forsee quit under pressure from investors and board members. Hesse most recently was chief executive of Embarq, a local phone-service company spun off from Sprint last year. He previously led the wireless division of AT&T, now the nation's largest wireless carrier, and has close ties to Sprint's board of directors.
Although he is well respected on Wall Street, some industry analysts are skeptical about his ability to bring about the dramatic changes necessary to turn the company around. Since its merger with Nextel two years ago, Sprint has lost many customers because of problems with its network and customer service. Sprint had also committed to spending at least $5 billion to build a high-speed network using a largely untested technology called WiMax, a gamble that alarmed some investors. Its partnership to build the network with wireless firm Clearwire dissolved last month.
Analysts and employees' speculation yesterday focused on Hesse's plans for WiMax and the possible relocation of the company's corporate headquarters. Hesse lives near Embarq's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., Sprint's former home. The company's operational base, with about 13,000 employees, remains there. About 4,500 employees and executives work in Reston.
"One of the things I will evaluate is whether we should consolidate to one headquarters or not and where that headquarters ought to be," Hesse said yesterday in an interview. "I've not made any decisions yet."
He also said he does not have a "magic timetable" for figuring out the direction of the WiMax network, which is supposed to be available in Washington and Baltimore next month. "That is something I will spend a good deal of time on right off the bat," he said.
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By Dan Beyers  |  December 18, 2007; 7:46 AM ET
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Dan definitely has a tough job ahead he has to fix customer service, integrate iDen and CDMA(shouldn't have merge the two firm in the first place), decide whether to stay on with WiMAX, and its long forgotten wireline business which lags economy of scales when compare with Verizon and AT&T from both coverage and product breath & depth, better off selling it!

Posted by: Watcher | December 18, 2007 9:58 AM

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