Pugnacious potential Sprint CEO and his shameful ‘raping you’ comment

06/20/2014 12:21 AM

06/20/2014 12:25 AM

Sprint customers and the company’s large Kansas City-based workforce are used to the buttoned-down leadership of CEO Dan Hesse.

Now we better be paying close attention to the outspoken and pugnacious T-Mobile CEO John Legere — the guy who’s much-rumored to be the favorite to take over leadership of a merged Sprint/T-Mobile company, if the proposed $32 billion deal goes through.

The latest eye-opening news about Legere comes from an appearance he made at a T-Mobile event this week.

Speaking of his company’s prime competitors, Verizon and AT&T, he told the audience:

“These high and mighty duopolists that are raping you for every penny you have ... the (expletives) hate you,” he said.

The use of rape in that comparison was shameful and uncalled-for.

Legere moved to apologize on Twitter after his rant, which certainly could be seen as taking the act of rape less seriously than the leader of a multibillion-dollar company should.

But this is something that longtime watchers of Legere say he often does, and he even admits it: Talk first, think later.

That might be great for an upstart firm like T-Mobile, basically the fourth banana in the wireless market, as it tries to gain attention.

However, if Sprint and T-Mobile do merge — and if Legere gets the CEO position, partly because Hesse seems not to want it — Kansas Citians could be treated to a whole different style of leadership at one of its main employers.

Of course, shareholders and Sprint customers would judge Legere greatly on whether he improves the product and customer service.

Get that done, and he can probably be as outspoken — and brash and rude — as he wants.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service