Sprint (NYSE: S) has hired a new CMO, former Bell Media executive Kevin Crull, who will be charged with revitalizing Sprint's brand as CEO Marcelo Claure continues his turnaround efforts.
Crull will start May 31 and will be responsible for all Sprint products and services, brand and advertising, customer acquisition and retention, and all digital and social efforts. Crull will report directly to Claure. Former Sprint CMO Jeff Hallock left the carrier late last year amid departures of several longtime Sprint executives.
Sprint said Crull was not available for interviews yet because he has not officially started.
"Kevin did an amazing job at Bell Media and I expect him to do even better at Sprint," Claure said in a statement. "Sprint is privileged to attract someone of his caliber and experience in media, content, and wireless. As the industry shifts towards providing unique experiences and content to wireless customers, Kevin's exceptional experience will allow him to be a great contributor in Sprint's transformation journey."
Sprint has positioned itself under Claure as the value leader in wireless. The company's unlimited plan for individual customers is $20 cheaper than T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) comparable plan. Sprint also is continuing to offer to cut the service bill in half of customers who switch from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). Claure said this strategy has helped Sprint gain market share.
During the first quarter Sprint added 1.2 million total customers, including 211,000 postpaid customers (though Sprint lost 201,000 postpaid phone customers). The carrier's postpaid churn fell sharply to 1.84 percent, down from 2.11 percent in the year-ago period and 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
Crull said in a statement that Sprint "has limitless potential for growth and transformation at a very exciting time in the industry."
"I believe the Sprint team is showing great momentum and has a plan to win in the marketplace," he said. "The wireless industry offers tremendous opportunity for profitable growth. My past experience has been all about execution and transformation and delivering results, and this is what I intend to do as part of the Sprint team."
Most recently, Crull served nearly five years as COO and then president of Bell Media, Canada's largest media and broadcasting company. At Bell, Crull led the acquisition of CTV Globemedia in late 2010, creating the foundation for Bell Media Inc. Under his tenure Bell also bought and integrated Astral Media. CTV, Bell Media's flagship broadcast network, also boasted four of the top five Canadian-produced television programs and 14 of the top 20 programs over all during Crull's leadership. Bell Media also developed and launched several "TV Everywhere" digital products under Cull.
However, Crull was ousted from Bell Media under a cloud of controversy in early April after Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail published a report in late March that indicated Crull personally intervened in coverage of a major Canadian regulatory decision and how it was covered on air on CTV. In March the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian equivalent of the FCC, decided to unbundle cable packages, which analysts predicted would hurt the bottom line of BCE Inc., the parent company of Bell Media. Crull reportedly directed CTV staff not to let CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais appear on CTV or have clips of his appearance be aired following an initial appearance Blais had made on CTV to discuss the news.
"Kevin Crull departs Bell with our thanks for his contributions to our customers and shareholders," George Cope, president and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE Inc., said in an April statement.
"However, the independence of Bell Media's news operations is of paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians," Cope said. "There can be no doubt that Bell will always uphold the journalistic standards that have made CTV the most trusted brand in Canadian news." According to Bell, Crull did not resign from his post.
Prior to Bell Media, Crull served as president of the Bell Residential Services organization, Canada's largest consumer telecommunications company. While there, Crull launched FibeTV, an Internet-based live TV service delivered over a fiberoptic networks.
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