Sprint's CFO replacement search hits a speed bump

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is having difficulty finding a replacement for CFO Bob Brust. The carrier's top candidate, Qwest CFO Joseph Euteneuer, is currently trying to finalize the details of CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

sprint cfo CFO for Bob Brust Sprint has tapped Euteneuer as its main choice, the report said, adding that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told Sprint's board that he "is the guy [Sprint officials] are interested in." Sprint CFO Bob Brust has indicated he wants to leave the carrier no later than May of next year. However, because CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest is not expected to close until sometime in the first half of next year, Euteneuer--who has been Qwest's CFO since 2008--might not be able to join Sprint until next June, the report said.

Representatives from Sprint and Qwest declined to comment.

The transition to a new finance chief comes at a critical time for Sprint's finances and strategic financial decisions. Sprint had $4.7 billion of cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, but has $1.65 billion in debt due in January and $2.75 billion in 2012.

Sprint also is close to announcing a vendor for a multi-billion-dollar network modernization project, which will take three to four years to complete. According to a separate Journal report from earlier this month, Sprint's target for bids for the project range from $5 billion to $7 billion.

Sprint may also have to pump $1 billion to $2 billion into Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), in which it holds a 54 percent stake. Speaking at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco earlier this week, Hesse stopped short of saying that Sprint would invest more money in Clearwire but he noted that Sprint has "historically injected more cash into the company."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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