Here is the email Sprint’s chief executive sent to employees. His reference to Masa is Masayoshi Son, Sprint’s chairman and founder of its Tokyo-based parent company, SoftBank Corp.
Dear Sprint teammates,
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.
It has been an exhilarating, fascinating and rewarding 61/2 + years as your CEO. We’ve come a long way since we established our 10 Sprint cultural imperatives together, our three priorities, and a single Sprint-Nextel headquarters. We’ve generated a whirlwind of action and innovation: Simply Everything, Ready Now, Any Mobile Anytime, ground-breaking environmental goals, Instinct, Reclaim, Pre, EVO 4G, iPhone (finally!), Satisfaction Guarantee, Boost Unlimited, acquiring Virgin Mobile and iPCS, successfully fighting AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA, shutting down iDEN, acquiring U.S. Cellular spectrum, the SoftBank merger, acquiring Clearwire, launching Spark, Framily, the M8 Harman/Kardon edition with Spotify, the GS5 Sport with Under Armour, the Satisfaction Guarantee (reprise), and national HD Voice (to name just a few — whew!). Plus, I got to “act” in 10 television commercials along the way. :)
We won case-fulls of awards, including 20 J.D. Power & Associates Customer Satisfaction awards, we went from worst-to-first in The American Customer Satisfaction Index (and we’re still the most improved U.S. company, period, in overall customer satisfaction according to the 2014 ACSI over the past six years). We’ve been widely-recognized for excellence in Corporate Responsibility and for Innovation, including being granted an average of over two U.S. patents every business day for the past two years.
Because of the differences in frequency and air interfaces between the three companies’ networks we had to bring together (Nextel — low-band with iDEN, Sprint — mid-band with CDMA, and Clearwire — high-band with Wimax), the only way to create a high-performance, low-cost network was to start over, to rip out and replace everything and build a new network from the ground up. After we survived a “near death experience” in 2008, from 2009 through early 2012, we made enormous progress in Sprint subscriber growth, customer satisfaction and brand strength. But, combining these three disjointed networks into one was a can we couldn’t keep kicking down the road. We needed to “bite the bullet” once again, because this large endeavor stood between Sprint and true excellence, our ultimate goal. This has been an extraordinarily difficult transition as call drops and blocks have increased and subscribers have declined.
As we announced last week, this rip-and-replace phase is largely complete, and we have 254 million POPs covered with LTE at 1900 MHz (our network will get even better as we build out more 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz LTE). It is personally satisfying to see this phase of the Network Vision project through as well as complete the first year of our merger with SoftBank. We were also net income positive and produced our best operating income in over seven years last quarter.
With the most difficult part of the Network Vision build behind us, Sprint is about ready to begin growing again. A “controlled entity” like Sprint can be most effective when the majority owner and the CEO are fully aligned and are great partners. Marcelo and Masa enjoy an exceptional relationship which has grown out of mutual respect between two very successful entrepreneurs. This is the right time in Sprint’s evolution for Marcelo to take the reins and get the most benefit from our relationship with SoftBank.
Working with the phenomenal people of Sprint has been one of the great privileges of my life. What you have accomplished is extraordinary. During our many challenges, including the customer-impacting network “dust,” this team never lost its focus on acquiring, serving and retaining customers with enthusiasm and energy. Our team spirit never faltered. Together, we have set a standard for corporate responsibility and integrity. We have always strived to “do the right thing.” It has been an honor to be your teammate.
Please give Marcelo the warm welcome and full support that you gave me when I arrived.
I will always be a Sprinter and cheering you on. Please accept my best wishes for you and your families.