T-Mobile USA CMO Cole Brodman is stepping down from the carrier later this month after a 17-year career with the nation's No. 4 carrier, the company confirmed. His departure comes just as T-Mobile is revamping its brand image and launching a new marketing campaign.
Brodman was promoted to the position less than two years ago, and will step down May 25, though he will continue to serve as a strategic advisor, according to a letter CEO Philipp Humm sent to employees Monday that was viewed by the Wall Street Journal. "It's a retirement from T-Mobile," Brodman, 46, told the Journal in an interview. "It's an opportunity to step away, get a break and start to think about how I want to do something next." He said he hadn't yet figured out what his next job would be.
The letter from Humm said that Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile's senior vice president of marketing, will replace Brodman while the company looks for a permanent replacement. "While I hate to see Cole leave, I have to respect his decision," Humm said.
Brodman's departure comes as T-Mobile is planning a more aggressive advertising campaign, with its spokeswoman Carly Foulkes trading her magenta dress for the black leather of a biker, and the company highlighting its "4G" HSPA+ network more than ever before. The carrier, which is making a $200 million incremental increase in advertising spending, is focused on a tougher brand image. The new campaign, which will fully kick off in the fall, is called "No More Mr. Nice Girl" and already has one TV advertisement out, dubbed "Alter Ego."
T-Mobile, which is upgrading to LTE next year, is banking on Android and Windows Phone devices, since it still does not offer Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. However, T-Mobile recently welcomed the news that AT&T has started unlocking the iPhones of its non-contract customers, and said later this year it will begin offering HSPA+ support for the devices on its network as it refarms spectrum. Currently, customers who bring unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile can only get 2G EDGE data speeds, since the iPhone does not support T-Mobile's 1700 MHz AWS spectrum.
Brodman made waves in March at a technology conference when he said that the way wireless carriers heavily subsidize the cost of devices for consumers is ultimately hurting the industry, but he conceded that the status quo is not likely to change any time soon.
"Purchasing phones at steep discount (subsidized by wireless carriers) devalues the incredible technology innovations coming to market," Brodman wrote in a follow-up blog post. "It distorts the cost of devices and creates an uneven playing field for OEMs, carriers and retailers alike."
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