People notice John Legere. The chief executive of T-Mobile US Inc. makes sure of it.
Legere swears, a lot, and in public. He wears pink T-shirts, black jeans and long hair. He even got tossed from an AT&T party early this year.
He feeds 351,468 followers on Twitter, often supplying jabs at the competition.
And it’s how Legere runs T-Mobile, as an upstart “Un-carrier” out to disrupt the industry.
“He has done a brilliant job of using that marketing approach to change the culture at T-Mobile and really excite them,” industry consultant Chetan Sharma said.
Legere also might turn out to be Sprint’s next CEO as the companies look for a pitch that will sway reluctant federal officials into approving a merger.
All the rebellion makes audiences forget about Legere’s pedigree.
He earned a master’s of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and honed his management development skills at the Harvard Business School.
Like many in the telecom world, Legere’s roots run to AT&T. At one time he led its Asia Pacific operations, another time its outsourcing program, and another its global strategy and business development efforts.
Legere even worked for Dan Hesse, Sprint’s chief executive, when they both were with AT&T.
Those were Legere’s clean-cut corporate days. And he stayed that way holding various posts at Dell Computer Corp. and as chief executive of Global Crossing Ltd., a bankrupt fiber optic cable business that he turned into a $3 billion buyout.
Legere embraced his rebel image and disruptive ambitions coming in the door at T-Mobile in September 2012.
“If I were the No. 3 player, I’d be watching over my shoulder,” he said at the time, according Bloomberg News’ account then. “We’ve made moves to be a value leader.”
Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have copied many of T-Mobile’s Un-carrier promotions, and Legere reminds them of that regularly. In short, they’ve noticed him.
“He’s really doing quite a fine job there,” Hesse said on Bloomberg TV in May. And when reminded of Legere’s repeated jabs, Hesse replied, “I don’t think John’s ever going to stop egging me on.”
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Listening to John Legere
Viewer advisory: Strong language
T-Mobile chief executive John Legere always wears a colorful T-shirt. Colorful, however, doesn’t begin to cover his language. He’s publicly profane in ways intended to shock. Like at T-Mobile’s recent Un-carrier 5.0 kickoff event with a live audience, media coverage and a webcast crowd along for the ride. Here, a heavily edited spot on theverge.com, displayed Legere’s more-than-colorful moments, F-bombs and all.