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McCaw Quits Clearwire

Phil Harvey
LR Mobile News Analysis
Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief

Craig McCaw, the Light Reading Hall of Famer who founded Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), has resigned from the company’s board of directors effective Dec. 31, the company said in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) .

McCaw served as chairman of Clearwire’s board for the past seven years, going back to before the company received its backing from a cadre of AT&T and Verizon competitors including Sprint Nextel, Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

Why this matters
McCaw is Clearwire. He founded the company, used his reputation to raise money, put in some of his own millions, and guided the startup to the point where it can serve as a legitimate competitor to big telco firms in several major U.S. markets.

“Mr. McCaw's decision to resign is not due to any disagreements with the Company on any matters relating to the Company's operations, policies, or practices,” the Clearwire filing states. “Eagle River [McCaw’s private equity firm] retains the right under the Equityholders' Agreement to nominate one additional director to replace Mr. McCaw, and it has indicated to the Company that it intends to nominate Benjamin G. Wolff.”

Interestingly, all this comes after Sprint vacated several board seats and put down the idea that it would acquire Clearwire, which is always on the hunt for new financing. Clearwire, too, is about to face an onslaught of tough competition as AT&T and Verizon get their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks up and running with new devices and service offerings in 2011.

For more on McCaw and his influence at Clearwire, please see:

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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