Bill Morrow, CEO, Clearwire
What makes him powerful: A former Vodafone executive and a 30-year telecom veteran, Bill Morrow took the helm of Clearwire in March, replacing Ben Wolff, who became co-chairman of Clearwire along with Craig McCaw. When the mobile WiMAX carrier announced the leadership change, company officials said Morrow was bringing his operational expertise to Clearwire, which was necessary as it was rapidly building out its network footprint. Indeed, Morrow's background as the former CEO of Vodafone, Europe, former CEO of Vodafone UK Ltd. and former president of Vodafone KK in Japan, seems like a perfect fit for this greenfield WiMAX operator with a very aggressive buildout schedule.
And so far Morrow is keeping Clearwire on track. The company's aggressive buildout is progressing as planned. Clearwire just announced that it will light up an additional 11 markets in fourth quarter 2009, fulfilling its goal of 25 WiMAX markets by year-end.
Morrow also seems adept at holding the WiMAX naysayers at bay with his approachable demeanor and his straightforward manner. At a recent 4G conference in Chicago, Morrow took the stage and dismissed the ongoing LTE vs. WiMAX debates--instead re-focusing the discussion on more widespread concerns such as how to manage consumption and bandwidth while avoiding network latency.
Perhaps most importantly, under Morrow's watch Clearwire has become an advocate for the wholesale wireless business model. The company openly champions its wholesale partners such as Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Sprint Nextel, and works with them to announce market launches. It will be interesting to see if this congenial relationship between the host network and its wholesale partners will continue once the company and its subscriber base matures. --Sue