Marcelo Claure is ending his stint as Sprint Chief Executive Officer after more than three and a half years, with the wireless carrier's board of directors elevating him to the role of Executive Chairman, the company said earlier this week. Mr. Claure's former position will now be filled by Sprint's current President and Chief Financial Officer Michel Combes, an industry veteran who only joined the firm four months ago. Given how Mr. Claure's new position is still executive in nature, he and Mr. Combes will now be jointly leading the firm going forward until its planned merger with T-Mobile announced last Sunday is completed.
Sprint is presently hoping to conclude the T-Mobile deal by the end of the first half of 2019, with many industry watchers deeming that timeline optimistic due to the significant volume of regulatory scrutiny the consolidation proposal is expected to attract. The newly announced transition of executive power at Sprint is expected to be concluded by the end of this month. Mr. Claure has been leading Sprint since August of 2014 and managed to push the company back into profitability in recent times, with the telecom giant's consolidated financial report for the first three months of 2018 showing its best quarterly results ever. Sprint is still believed to be overleveraged but would be able to address those issues through a consolidation with T-Mobile that has been performing in a much better manner in recent years, overtaking it as the third-largest carrier in the country in August of 2015.
T-Mobile agreed to acquire Sprint in an all-stock deal valued at $26.5 billion, with the duo claiming that only combined can they push for accelerated deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks in the U.S. That sentiment runs contrary to the rhetoric they've been practicing as late as this March when both came to Barcelona, Spain-based Mobile World Congress to tout their independent 5G plans that they're still planning to pursue until their merger is approved. Sprint is now searching for a new CFO meant to replace Mr. Combes and will be looking both internally and externally for a suitable candidate, the company said in a statement.
As part of a separate announcement, Sprint parent SoftBank Group said Tuesday that Mr. Claure will also be assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer at SoftBank Group Corp. and CEO at SoftBank Group International. The industry veteran is already a SoftBank Group Corp. board member and will be joining the board of the entity meant to be created through a combination of Sprint and T-Mobile if and when such a move is completed.