The new management team under chief executive Marcelo Claure is starting to take shape with some key changes, some new posts and a new business unit aimed at Hispanic and multicultural markets.
Claure, in an email to employees last week, outlined those changes and named more than 20 Sprint executives who will continue with the Overland Park-based wireless carrier.
Sprint officials declined to comment on Claure’s report to the ranks, which The Kansas City Star obtained Tuesday. It comes as the company is eliminating 3,700 jobs to cut costs.
The email, sent Nov. 11, accounted for all 12 officers, other than Claure, listed on the company’s website as members of the executive team. Three are leaving — Sprint’s heads of marketing, business and government customer services, and corporate communications.
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New names mostly popped up in areas of Sprint’s operations that Claure has criticized or changed already, including credit standards for customers and purchasing for the $35 billion business.
“I was a little surprised that as many stayed on,” said Mark Lowenstein, an industry consultant and managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, who saw the email. “I think the list on that page is still fluid.”
Claure left the door open to still more changes, telling employees his email list was a “work in progress” and they should expect updates.
“This is not a comprehensive overview of all Sprint executives,” his email said. “I’m simply highlighting the leadership chain in some key areas.”
Last week in a speech to investors, he also said additions to Sprint’s management team would come in the next 60 to 90 days.
Among the departures, Sprint said Bill White was retiring as head of corporate communications after 32 years at the company, and Douglas Michelman, previously with Visa, would start Dec. 1.
Sprint also has confirmed that chief marketing officer Jeff Hallock, a Sprint employee since 1999, has decided to leave the company but is staying until a successor can be named.
Claure’s email said Matt Carter also would leave once a successor was named to his post as head of enterprise solutions, the business unit that pursues large businesses, government agencies and similar accounts. Carter has been at Sprint for eight years.
Sprint already has created five posts under Claure, though one is filled only on an interim basis and one remains unfilled.
The company recently named Junichi Miyakawa as its first technical chief operating officer, hiring him from Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp., which owns 80 percent of Sprint. Claure has said Miyakawa will move to the Kansas City area and will be able to return to SoftBank “when our network is great.”
Claure’s email revealed four other new posts.
The chief experience officer will have “the authority to intersect any area in the business in order to enhance the customer experience,” Claure’s email said. He named Bob Johnson, previously president of Sprint retail, to the new post.
Sprint created a chief procurement officer post to “oversee our efforts to evaluate where we spend every dollar and look for ways to improve our cost structure,” Claure said.
The company filled the purchasing post with an interim appointment, Frank Boyer, who the email described as a retained consultant. Boyer has been in procurement at Unisys and Cingular Wireless, which is now part of AT&T.
Claure criticized Sprint’s purchasing practices last week, saying Sprint had 43 different procurement centers but only one now under Boyer.
One new executive is Ron Robine, who became vice president and credit risk officer as of Nov. 3. Robine had been a managing director at Barclays, a global financial firm.
Claure said last week that Sprint had boosted its customer count by allowing less-creditworthy customers to qualify for its prime customer accounts. They should have been limited to prepaid wireless plans, he said.
Kate Pearce, senior strategist at Compass Intelligence, said: “When they get desperate for their net (customer) adds they go down market. Sprint did it in 2002 and got in a bunch of problems with high credit risk customers.”
Claure has said Sprint won’t do that in the future.
In the search for customers, Claure has created a business unit called “Hispanic/Multi-cultural” to focus on these “rapidly growing” segments of the U.S. marketplace, the email said. Sprint expects to hire a leader for this unit “in the near future,” it said.
Lowenstein said the new unit “makes the most sense” because the wireless industry generally has a poor record in offering unique plans or services for what is a significant potential customer base.
Other Sprint executives named to jobs in Claure email
Jaime Jones, president of postpaid and general business group
Dow Draper, president prepaid services
Karen Freitag, VP wholesale
David Owens, senior VP product
Tom Roberts, senior VP acquisition marketing
Jim Curran, VP customer retention initiatives
Evan Conway, VP digital marketing
Steve Gaffney, VP media strategy
Mike Cooley, VP Pinsight Media+
Stephen Bye, chief technical officer
John Saw, chief network officer
Marci Carris, senior VP customer management
Peter Campbell, senior VP and chief information officer
Deeanne King, VP shared services
Will Souder, senior VP cost optimization
Martin Fijman, VP procurement
Gene Agee, VP procurement
Michael Schwartz, senior VP corporate strategy and development
Sandy Price, senior VP human resources
Charlie Wunsch, senior VP legal and regulatory affairs
Vonya McCann, senior VP government affairs