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Combes in as Sprint CEO, Claure Gets Booted Upstairs

In an unexpected move, Sprint has shuffled recent hire Michel Combes into the CEO's chair, as the operator waits to see if its planned merger with T-Mobile gets regulatory approval.

Current CEO Marcelo Claure will become the executive chairman at Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). He will also take on the role of COO of SoftBank Group Corp and CEO at SoftBank Group International. The Japanese company, which is the majority owner of Sprint now, and will hold a 27% stake if the merger passes muster, says Claure will oversee SoftBank's investment in the combined company.

Combes will take over as CEO at the end of May.The Sprint/T-Mobile merger is expected to close in the first half of 2019. (See T-Mobile to Buy Sprint for $26.5B to Create US 5G Powerhouse.)

Combes became CFO at Sprint in January of this year. He's best known as the ex-CEO Alcatel-Lucent (now an ex-company). Combes was lauded as a "turnaround specialist" when hired by Sprint. (See Sprint Appoints Ex-AlcaLu Boss Combes as CFO.)

This may become especially relevant for Sprint employees if the merger does not get past regulators in 2019, as the operator would have to further cut costs in that eventuality.

In the meantime, Sprint says it is looking for a new CFO.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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