Sprint's Claure hires new execs, as veterans Hallock, Carter and White depart

Sprint (NYSE: S) CEO Marcelo Claure shook up Sprint's executive team and further put his stamp on the organization by hiring new executives to his senior management group. Meanwhile, Sprint announced that several longtime executives will be leaving the company, including CMO Jeff Hallock, enterprise chief Matt Carter and communications director Bill White.

sprint CMO Jeff Hallock


Claure had hinted publicly last week that executive changes would be coming. In a memo to Sprint staff last week, Claure discussed his philosophy for how Sprint should be run. "It's often said that the people are the greatest asset of a company. I disagree," he wrote. "The right people are the most important asset, not just people, and we have to be very disciplined in our pursuit of always having the right team."

Claure said he believes in teams and not individual stars, and that the company will succeed if Sprint employees work together.

"Over the past few months, all direct reports of the CEO had discussions with Marcelo and were given the opportunity to express their desire to stay with the new Sprint or pursue opportunities outside the company," Sprint spokesman Doug Duvall told FierceWireless. "Based on personal decisions, Matt Carter (president of enterprise), Jeff Hallock (chief marketing officer) and Bill White (head of corporate communications) have elected to leave the company."

White will be replaced by Douglas Michelman, who recently spent 10 years as chief communications officer at Visa, where he oversaw global media relations, public affairs, industry analyst relations and financial and communication strategies. Prior to Visa, Michelman served in various roles at public relations firm FleishmanHillard, including regional president and senior partner.

Duvall said searches are underway for replacements for Hallock and Carter. He said they "will remain engaged in day-to-day operations until replacements are found," which Sprint expects to occur by early 2015.

White had been with Sprint for 32 years. "I thank Bill for his numerous contributions since he's been with Sprint," Claure said in a statement. "I wish him the best."

Hallock's departure had been expected, and was confirmed by Sprint to AdAge on Friday. Hallock is a 15-year Sprint marketing veteran, and was promoted to CMO in January after Bill Malloy resigned. "His departure was voluntary and it was based on a personal decision," Sprint spokesman Dave Mellin told AdAge.

Hallock was largely the person responsible for Sprint's "Framily" calling plan, which gave Sprint customers discounts as they added more lines to their plan. The plans--which were marketed in ads that featured a strange assortment of characters, including a talking gerbil--never truly took off. Claure ditched the Framily plans shortly after taking over from Dan Hesse in August, but Mellin told AdAge Hallock's departure was not related to the ad campaign.

Carter had been with Sprint since late 2006 and had served in a variety of roles, including president of the Boost Mobile prepaid unit, head of Sprint's 4G WiMAX business, president of emerging and global wholesale solutions and most recently as the head of Sprint's B2B business.

Claure is creating a new role called Chief Experience Officer, which will be filled by longtime Sprint executive Bob Johnson. Claure said he wants to "simplify the customer experience in such a dramatic way that it will alter the entire industry. This requires enhancements to every customer touch point in our business."

Johnson will be "responsible for delivering a world-class customer experience at all customer touch-points, including inputs to our first-in-industry leasing programs." Claure said Johnson will have the authority "to intersect any area in the business in order to enhance the customer experience." Johnson will continue oversight of the carrier's customer care and IT groups.

Claure also officially named Frank Boyer, a former Cingular Wireless executive, as Chief Procurement Officer. Boyer will oversee Sprint's efforts "to evaluate where we spend every dollar and look for ways to improve our cost structure," Claure said, and will report to both Claure and CFO Joe Euteneuer.

Last week at an investor conference Claure hinted at not only executive changes but also new advertising coming from Sprint centered on the carrier being the value leader in the U.S. wireless market. "The best value means the customers will get their money's worth. And that's really important, because if you're getting the right value, you buy the product and you stay with the product," he said, according to Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. "So you've seen a little. I can tell you that you ain't seen nothing yet. I can tell you that the next two or three weeks are going to be extremely exciting."

As the Wall Street Journal notes, over the weekend Sprint launched new commercial featuring a goat, meant to represent Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ)  and AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), that screams when it learns of how cheap Sprint's Family Share Pack shared data plans are.

In the memo, Claure said Sprint will now have four key business units: postpaid and general business; prepaid services; enterprise solutions and Hispanic/multi-cultural. He said Sprint executive Jaime Jones has been promoted to lead the postpaid units, which will focus on consumer and general business sales, including company stores, dealers, national retailers, telesales and online sales. "He has a unique ability to motivate teams and has consistently demonstrated this in both retail and business sales groups," Claure said. "I have the utmost confidence in Jaime's ability to lead our go-to-market efforts in consumer postpaid and general business."

Dow Draper is staying on as president of prepaid but will also now manage wholesale. Karen Freitag, a vice president, will continue to lead the wholesale organization.

Sprint just created the Hispanic/multi-cultural, which Claure said is meant to capitalize on demographic trends showing faster population growth among minorities. "We're conducting a comprehensive search for the best candidate to lead this group and expect to hire someone in the near future," Claure said.

Much of the marketing and product team is remaining intact, including David Owns, who will continue to serve as senior vice president of product and report to the CMO, Claure said.

"The organizational structure should be considered ever-evolving," Claure said in the memo. "I don't believe an organization must be rigid--as the needs of the business and competitive landscape changes, we may be required to make changes of our own. We must be adaptable to the industry around us. I'm excited and confident in these leaders and their ability to lead Sprint on the journey to reshape the wireless industry." 

For more:
- see this Sprint release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this AdAge article

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