Sprint's Foresee facing shareholder pressure

Sprint Nextel's Chief Executive Gary Forsee is feeling pressure from activist investor Ralph Whitworth who told The Wall Street Journal that investors have lost confidence in the leader.

Since gaining a stake in Sprint earlier this year, Whitworth has rattled the cage with management regarding its investments in WiMAX as well as what he calls poor attention to the company's core mobile-phone business. He also asked the company to consider the potential sale of its fiber-optic-networking and long-distance operations. Sprint has been struggling with churn in its core mobile-phone business, its integration of Nextel and heavy spending on WiMAX.

Whitworth, however, isn't demanding Forsee step down, but places responsibility on the board. His company, Relational Investors, owns about 53.1 million shares, or 1.9 percent, of Sprint's shares outstanding. Whitworth has experience in ousters. He played a role in the departure of Robert Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot, and the ouster of Sovereign Bancorp CEO Jay Sidhu.

For more about Sprint's pressure:
- take a look at this WSJ article (sub. req.)