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Embarq CEO Resigns to Run Sprint

Dan Hesse, the CEO of Embarq Corp. (NYSE: EQ) has left the company to become the new CEO of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), the companies announced this morning. Hesse had been at the helm of Embarq since the company's inception in 2006 when it was spun off of Sprint as part of the operator's merger with Nextel.

Hesse replaces Gary Forsee who resigned from Sprint in October following nearly a year of falling earnings and declining subscriber numbers. (See Sprint Nextel CEO Steps Down.) Sprint's chief financial officer, Paul Saleh, had been the interim CEO up until this point.

Hesse will have his hands full when he returns to Sprint Nextel. In addition to the company's operational struggles, the company is also reeling from the recent flop of its $3 billion WiMax project. The nationwide service, branded as "Xohm," was to be deployed through a partnership with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), but that partnership is currently very much in question. It was first reported in November that the two companies had ended their relationship, but recent reports have suggested the venture might be back on again. (See Report: Sprint & Clearwire Split and Sprint-Clearwire: On Again in 2008?)

Meanwhile, at Embarq, the departure of Hesse was not completely unexpected. Hesse had told a crowd at an investor conference this month that he was a leading candidate for the Sprint job and had also been considered for the top job at Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), which was eventually filled by Ed Mueller.

Embarq has named its general counsel, Tom Gerke, as it interim CEO and has acknowledged that he is a top candidate to get the permanent job.

"We'll conduct an orderly process for Mr. Hesse's successor," said an Embarq representative. "Mr. Gerke is certainly a candidate." On the sudden departure of Hesse, the spokesperson said, "Mr. Hesse was offered the chance to lead a Fortune 50 company, and he thought he would return to his roots, which is in wireless."

Hesse was the CEO of AT&T Wireless from 1997 to 2000.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 2:57:10 PM
re: Embarq CEO Resigns to Run Sprint enough said
opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 2:57:08 PM
re: Embarq CEO Resigns to Run Sprint If you don't like rants, skip this message. Sometimes we have to get these things out of our system.

Sprint has been losing customers in droves. They lost 337,000 subscribers in the 3rd quarter of 2007. After last night I now know at least one reason why.

They've changed their billing system to Ensemble. That is good. But current customers have to re-register in this new system. This is bad. Why they couldn't just port their present customers over to the new system is anyone's guess. Computers are good at this sort of thing. Probably some lazy too-powerful software guy didn't want to make the user-id of the new system compatible with that of the old system, or something like that.

Last night I just found all this out when I couldn't get my Sprint bill on-line. I had to 'reregister'--a process that took over half an hour. It involved lots of weird verification questions like "how many square feet was the property you owned 8 years ago?" I'm not kidding! They asked that! Then they couldn't finish because the computers were down for backup. Sprint's entire world-wide customer database gets shut down during backup?????

The crazyness of forcing each and every one of their current customers to go through this process is beyond belief. In addition to causing their customers grief, this must be very expensive for them (1/2 hour * every single Sprint customer).

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