Sprint CEO Hesse on a Short Leash – Hyper Involved Board Suggests Potentially Short Tenure for CEO

Recently Sprint’s board voted down an acquisition of MetroPCS despite the deal being something Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was interested in. The move suggested, in part, that the Sprint board isn’t all that confident in Hesse’s plan to not only continue improving Sprint’s fortunes, but also upgrade the entire network to LTE while also integrating a new company. The Wall Street Journal is running a story suggesting that Hesse is on quite a short leash and that the board has taken to getting highly involved in operations. Jim Kerstetter over at CNET argues that’s not a good sign:

…the picture the WSJ paints is certainly a flattering one of an engaged, hands-on board. They are served well by this story. You don’t see this sort of knifing when an exec is secure in his job. It usually means board members are trying to distance themselves from a CEO’s plans gone wrong so they don’t get personally sued by shareholders. Or they’re getting ready to fire him. Either way, today can’t be a very cheery day for Hesse, who for better or worse over the last five years has become the face of the money-losing carrier.

While they did have a big win in the AT&T T-Mobile collapse, the company has eliminated a lot of the policies that made them more consumer friendly, instead progressively mirroring the more nickel and dime policies of larger competitors AT&T and Verizon. It seems like only a matter of time before Sprint eliminates their biggest market differentiation tactic — unlimited data for smartphones.
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