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Sprint Nextel CEO steps down

09 октября 2007

Gary Forsee, Sprint Nextel’s embattled chief executive, stepped down on Monday after the board started searching for a replacement amid investor concerns about the mobile carrier’s loss of subscribers and dismal financial performance.

His resignation before a permanent successor has been named underscores the crisis facing Sprint Nextel as it struggles to integrate the $36bn purchase of Nextel Communications two years ago and compete effectively with AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the market leaders.

At the same time that Mr Forsee’s departure was announced Sprint Nextel said that it expected to report a net loss of 337,000 monthly post-paid subscribers in the recently completed third quarter and revised its full year profit and revenue guidance downwards.

The troubled company said both its adjusted operating profits and consolidated operating revenues for 2007 are now expected to be “slightly below” the previously indicated range of $11bn to $11.5bn for operating profits and $41bn to $42bn of revenues.

Sprint Nextel is due to announce its third quarter results on November 1.
In a statement issued after the US markets closed the company, the third largest wireless carrier in the US with 54m subscribers, said that Paul Saleh, Sprint Nextel’s chief financial officer, will serve as acting chief executive until a permanent successor for Mr Forsee, who became chief executive in 2003, is named.

In the company statement, but Irvine Hockaday, an independent board member, thanked Mr forsee his contribution, but noted that the decision to seek a new chief executive was based on the board’s belief that, “it is the right time to put in place a new leadership to move the company forward in improving its performance and realising corporate objectives.”

Mr Hockaday said the board’s search for a successor “will focus on candidates outside the company.” He added: “We fully expect that the search will be concluded in a timely manner and we are focused on selecting the right candidate to guide the company to achieve its full potential.”

The company said that pending a new appointment, James Hance, a member of the board, will assume the role of acting chairman.

Mr Forsee’s tenure as Sprint Nextel’s chief executive has been market by a series of bod but not always successful moves. The purchase of Nextel Communications in particular triggered a wave of consolidation in the US mobile telecommunications industry.

More recently Mr Forsee pledged to spend up to $5bn building a new nationwide wireless broadband network based on a relatively new technology called WiMax. The future of that project could now be in doubt

Источник: Financial Times

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