Sprint's mergers chief Keith Cowan to leave company next month

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) disclosed that Keith Cowan, the carrier's president of strategic planning and initiatives and its lead mergers and acquisitions executive, will leave the company at the end of September.

sprint keith cowen


Cowan's departure comes after reports of a rocky relationship he had with investors and others in the wireless industry. However, Sprint said his departure, which it revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, was not related to any outside pressure.

Sprint spokesman Bill White told the Wall Street Journal that Cowan will leave to pursue "civic and charitable and other obligations" in Atlanta, where he lives, and Chapel Hill, N.C., where he went to college. "We are getting excellent shareholder support as we go through the turnaround, and Keith's departure is not related to third-party concerns," White said.

Cowan joined Sprint in mid-2007.

According to a March Journal report, Sprint's board dispatched CEO Dan Hesse to work more closely with Cowan in order to accommodate partner concerns about Cowan's style. Hesse and Cowan worked together to finalize funding and partnership agreements with Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) last fall.

The report also noted that two potential deals for Sprint have foundered this year, one to acquire flat-rate player MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and another with T-Mobile USA over network sharing. The MetroPCS deal was reportedly close to being finalized earlier this year but was killed by Sprint's board; Sprint has never confirmed or discussed any of the reports about the MetroPCS deal.

Hesse said earlier this week that he is open to consolidation--as long as the Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility are not gobbling up smaller players.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Kansas City Star article

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