Sprint's (NYSE:S) shakeup of its network executive team is continuing, with longtime Sprint executive Iyad Tarazi leaving the company. His departure comes just weeks after Sprint announced that Steve Elfman, president of network operations, and Bob Azzi, the carrier's senior vice president of networks, would be leaving the company.
Tarazi had been Sprint's vice president of network technology development and integration. Sprint spokeswoman Kelly Schlageter confirmed the departure to FierceWireless.
She noted that historically Sprint does not comment on personnel moves, and declined to say why Tarazi is leaving. "In the interim and effective immediately, Emerino Marchetti, Vice President, Engineering and Development, will serve as the lead contact for the Network Development team," she said.
Tarazi, who was previously the vice president of network engineering at Nextel, had been with Nextel since 1998 and moved to Sprint when the companies merged in 2005. He had been one of the key architects of Sprint's Network Vision network modernization, along with Elfman and Azzi.
The shakeup at Sprint has given more authority to John Saw, Clearwire's former CTO, who has been promoted to Chief Network Officer of Sprint. Saw had previously been Sprint's senior vice president of technical architecture. Some of Azzi's former organization now reports to Stephen Bye, Sprint's Chief Technology Officer.
Earlier this month at an investor conference, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said that after SoftBank took control of Sprint last summer, many longtime executives began plotting when they might leave Sprint, including CMO Bill Malloy, who is leaving at the this month and will be replaced by Jeff Hallock.
"Steve has been a guy who has been very vocal about his retirement, and has worked to really keep the network organization in sync, ready to go upon his exit," Euteneuer said, speaking of Elfman. "Bob's another guy who thought the same way. These guys have spent a tremendous amount of time at Sprint, getting it to where it is." He said their departures are "not one of these shocks to the system."
Euteneuer said Saw and Bye are "two great guys" and are "fabulous." He said that they "have spent well over a year working with Steve and Bob to make sure there are no bumps in the night," and that Elfman "wouldn't have left unless he felt it was done."
The changes come as Sprint is finishing up its Network Vision network modernization, which involves the wholesale upgrade of Sprint's CDMA network and the deployment of LTE. Sprint aims to have that work completed by mid-year and cover 250 million POPs with LTE on its 1900 MHz spectrum. Sprint is also deploying its tri-band LTE service, dubbed Sprint Spark, and will continue LTE deployments on its 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz airwaves.
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