Lauer in at Qualcomm, Foresee new Sprint Nextel chairman

Len Lauer, the former operations chief and scapegoat for Sprint Nextel's horrid churn rates earlier this year, is now Qualcomm's corporate executive vice president and group president of several major Qualcomm divisions, including the Wireless Business Solutions group, MEMs Technologies, Government Technologies and MediaFLO USA. Lauer has a strong reputation for operations management. He cleaned up Sprint's churn mess in 2002 and worked in Sprint's global markets group. But when things go bad, someone has to be responsible for the failed execution in order to restore investor confidence.

Speaking of investor confidence, Sprint Nextel's Board of Directors named President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Forsee to serve as the company's chairman. Forsee replaces Tim Donahue, who retires as executive chairman at the end of this month. Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk believes the move will mean that investors will endure a lower level of corporate governance as a result of a CEO that also acts like a chairman. In this day and age of stock-option backdating problems, you would think that Sprint would want to be careful about separating oversight management from the person running day-to-day operations. Piecyk believes this move reduces the possibility of management change in 2007 and increases the likelihood of reported results coming in below consensus in 2007 and 2008.

For more about Lauer's new gig and Foresee's takeover as chairman:
- check out this article from RCR News