Sprint's Hesse maintains 'boring' company priorities

At a shareholder meeting in Overland Park, Kan., yesterday, Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse reiterated his goals for the company of improving customer service, promoting its brand and strengthening its financials. These were the same priorities Hesse espoused during his first shareholder meeting as CEO a year ago.

"It might be boring, but it's the same three priorities this year," Hesse said. Sprint has trumpeted surveys showing improvements in its customer service, and hopes to generate brand buzz with the upcoming launch of the much-hyped Palm Pre. 

At the meeting, Hesse was overwhelmingly voted back onto Sprint's board. Irvine Hockaday, who announced in late March that he would not stand for re-election to Sprint's board, did not attend the meeting.  

Interestingly, though, shareholders eschewed a board recommendation by approving a plan that would allow owners of 10 percent of Sprint shares to call a special shareholder meeting. The same kind of proposal was recently approved by Motorola shareholders, who expressed displeasure with the company's trajectory.

Sprint recently reported first quarter 2009 consolidated net operating revenues of $8.2 billion, with a free cash flow of almost $800 million and a cash balance of $4.5 billion. However, the company posted a net loss of $594 million in the first quarter, and while it gained 764,000 prepaid iDEN subscriber from its Boost Mobile subsidiary, it still lost 1.25 million postpaid customers in the quarter.

For more:
- see this Kansas City Star article

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