Sprint Appoints Ex-Bell Media Exec as CMO
Sprint's executive shake-ups continue this week as the carrier announced former Bell Media executive Kevin Crull will be coming on board as chief marketing officer at the end of the month.
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) says Crull "will be responsible for all products and services, brand and advertising, customer acquisition and retention, and all digital and social efforts." He will be relocating to Kansas City and reporting directly to President and CEO Marcelo Claure. Crull replaces former Sprint CMO Jeff Hallock, who announced he was leaving the company last November. (See More Executive Shake-Ups at Sprint .)
Crull has been in the media and telecom industry for 30 years with past stints at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Qwest. Most recently, he spent five years as chief operating officer and then president of Canada's Bell Media. He led the media and broadcasting company in several acquisitions and helped launch TV Everywhere products and an on-demand video streaming service, CraveTV.
"Sprint is privileged to attract someone of his caliber and experience in media, content and wireless," Claure said in a release on the appointment. "As the industry shifts towards providing unique experiences and content to wireless customers, Kevin's exceptional experience will allow him to be a great contributor in Sprint's transformation journey."
Last month, Sprint appointed former TIM Brasil CMO Roger Solé as senior vice president for the Hispanic market and senior vice president of innovation. (See Sprint Taps Brazilian Mobile Exec to Head Innovation.)
The CMO slot was a particularly important one for Sprint to fill as it looks to attract new customers while still working through network improvements across the country. In the carrier's fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Claure hinted at a forthcoming new "next-generation network" plan for Sprint, which may be tricky to communicate given the operator has had several iterations of network upgrades with its Network Vision and Spark initiatives. (See Sprint Maps Out Its Next-Generation Network.)
Krull's appointment is also notable given his background in broadcast and media at a time when all of the carrier's rivals are stepping up their focus on video products and content -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) through several planned video offers and its acquisition of AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), and AT&T through its pending acquisition of DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV). (See AT&T Eyes TVE Blitz With DirecTV and Verizon's AOL Buy Completes Its Content Story.)
Sprint has yet to put a stake in the ground on video, but its parent company SoftBank Corp. recently appointed former Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) executive Nikesh Arora as president to bring a more Internet-focused approach to both carriers. The release announcing Krull's appointment also noted that personalized offers will be important for Sprint going forward. (See SoftBank's Son Names Arora New President.)
T-Mobile US Inc. , too, recently said it would step up its marketing efforts against Verizon Wireless and its claims of network superiority. The marketing -- and pricing -- battles are at an all-time high in the US, and Krull will have his hands full carving out Sprint's positioning and value proposition in the competitive wireless market here. (See T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network and Sprint Holds off T-Mobile US Offensive.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading