4. Hope Cochran, CFO, Clearwire - 2011 Most Influential Women in Wireless
Hope Cochran isn't your typical telecom CFO. A classically trained vocalist who once moonlighted as an opera singer, Cochran was promoted to Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) CFO job after spending more than three years as the firm's senior vice president of finance and treasurer.
During her time as senior vice president of finance, Cochran is credited with raising about $6.5 billion in capital for the firm, including handling the $3.2 billion deal that involved a merger with Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) WiMAX business and investments from firms such as Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks.
Cochran was promoted to CFO this year after a major front-office shakeup that included former Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow being replaced by John Stanton and former CFO Eric Prusch being elevated to COO. Shortly after the change-up, Cochran was called upon to take the stage at FierceWireless' "Path to 4G" conference on a panel about differentiating 4G services, replacing Mike Sievert, Clearwire's former chief commercial officer, who resigned in the shake-up. Cochran proved to be a knowledgeable and articulate speaker, deftly handling questions from attendees and the panel moderator. And, in a follow-up interview with FierceWireless, she responded to questions about Clearwire's LTE trials, growing competition from competitive wholesale provider LightSquared and the future of Clearwire's retail strategy.
But Clearwire has had a rough time lately--the company remains in a holding pattern on its mobile WiMAX network buildout as it seeks more funding. And with recent reports that Sprint will confirm its reported network-sharing deal with LightSquared when it announces its second-quarter earnings on July 28, Cochran and other Clearwire executives will likely be in the hot seat. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse seemed to dash that speculation and recently said the company will have major 4G announcements to make in the fall. It's unclear what Sprint's deal with LightSquared will mean for Clearwire, or if Clearwire will ink a similar deal with Sprint, but Clearwire will need to reassure investors and other wholesale customers that its future is secure, whatever the outcome.