Sprint to move to 4 regional hubs model, streamline sales organization as part of restructuring

Sprint (NYSE: S) is going to shake up its sales organization and move to a model in which it has four regional hubs and sales teams focused on 19 key markets as opposed to focusing on different types of customers like postpaid and prepaid. The changes, which will likely be implemented in early 2016, come as Sprint is preparing to slash thousands of jobs as part of a major cost-cutting initiative designed to save the company up to $2.5 billion.  

The changes were outlined in a company newsletter Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure sent last Thursday to employees and which was subsequently reported on by multiple media outlets. According to the newsletter, Claure said Sprint will have four regions for the country, each served by a company president reporting to Claure. Sprint will also have 19 individuals in charge of markets in specific strategic cities across the country who will report up to the regional head.

The new strategy, which Claure dubbed "One Sprint," is aimed at replicating the success that Tracy Nolan, Sprint's head of the Chicago and Wisconsin markets, has had in crafting a new paradigm for the company since April. The Chicago strategy has "been more successful than even we expected at this point," Claure said, according to the Kansas City Star. Nolan has her own dedicated P&L line and autonomy to manage around 900 employees across sales, customer care, marketing, IT and network functions. Her appointment was the first time Sprint had devolved responsibility like that on a regional basis. 

Claure has not said who will lead the markets, but the company will have regional headquarters in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, with plans to name leaders for each. The changes will occur after the crucial holiday shopping season, Claure indicated.

"Everybody should stay focused and keep doing the jobs you have today," Claure said. "This is a critically important selling season for our company."

Nolan will join Sprint's management team at its Overland Park, Kan., headquarters team to push the new plan even while maintaining responsibility for her region, the Star reported. According to the Kansas City Business Journal, Claure said Nolan "will be working with me in leading the implementation of the localization model, providing sales guidance and ensuring that we execute with excellence when it's ready to go."

The overall goal is to simplify and streamline Sprint's sales practices. "Today we go to market with teams from postpaid, prepaid, enterprise and general business all calling on customers in the same area," Claure said, according to the Business Journal. "There is overlap among our teams with this approach. It's almost like we have four Sprints. I believe we can be more efficient, and do a better job of serving our customers. This is why we are going to take a new approach. I call it One Sprint."

Under the new structure, the sales teams will be localized and will go after Sprint's entire customer base, and not just be focused on postpaid, prepaid or enterprise segments. "We are going to go from a centralized model that we have today to a completely local decentralized model," Claure said in an interview with Bloomberg. "You'll see 19 Sprints. We are going to go fight in the local markets rather than one Sprint fighting from Overland Park."

Sprint plans to cut as much as $2 billion in operating costs in the next few months and Sprint Chairman and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has said that will involve "thousands" of job cuts. Claure did not indicate how many jobs will be lost but said the cuts will be painful but necessary.

"For our colleagues who will be leaving, we will be sorry to see them go. We know it will be difficult for them," he said in the letter, according to the Star. "But I can't emphasize enough that this is absolutely necessary. These are actions we must take so that we can ensure the strength and long-term success of our company, and save thousands of other jobs."

Claure also used the newsletter to unveil a pair of executive hires. Ramon Colomina, a former Brightstar and SoftBank executive, will join the carrier as senior vice president of supply chain and interim chief procurement officer. Additionally, Christina Sternberg, a former AMC Theatres executive, is coming on board as Claure's chief of staff and will be replacing Jay Spaulding, who will move into an unspecified new role after a transition, according to Re/code.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article 
- see this Kansas City Star article 
- see this Kansas City Business Journal article 
- see this Re/code article 

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