Clearwire CEO and two execs exit WiMAX carrier

Mar 11, 2011
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Clearwire CEO and two execs exit WiMAX carrier

Clearwire has lost three top executives including CEO Bill Morrow, who has resigned for "personal reasons." The news comes shortly after a lawsuit was filed against the company, alleging Clearwire throttled home WiMAX connections and did not provide the high-speed internet service that it had promised.

Morrow will be temporarily replaced by current board of directors chairman John Stanton, the former CEO of Western Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless. Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer, and Kevin Hart, CIO, have both announced their intention to leave Clearwire, "to pursue other opportunities."

The company claims the exec exits will not impact its ongoing wholesale negotiations with Sprint, an agreement on which it expects is "imminent." The two carriers had disagreed over profit sharing, and Sprint had suggested it could look instead to an LTE network.

Press Release:

CLEARWIRE NAMES CHAIRMAN JOHN STANTON AS INTERIM CEO

Kirkland, Wash., March 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR), a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services in the U.S., today announced changes to the company’s executive leadership team.

John Stanton, chairman of Clearwire’s board of directors and former CEO of Western Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless, has been named CEO of Clearwire on an interim basis, effective immediately. Stanton will continue to serve in his role as board chairman.

Stanton replaces Bill Morrow who has resigned as CEO and as a director of the board, citing personal reasons. Morrow will continue to serve as an advisor to the company during the transition period. The company has appointed a search committee, chaired by board member Dennis Hersch, to lead the hiring process for a new CEO.

"I would like to commend Bill for his tremendous leadership in building the first U.S. 4G network, adding more than 5 million subscribers, and raising funds in a challenging economic environment," said John Stanton. "Bill built a strong leadership team which enables us to promote Erik Prusch and Hope Cochran to new roles. Together, the entire management team at Clearwire remains focused on delivering value to its customers and shareholders."

Other Executive Appointments

As part of today’s announcement, Erik Prusch, Clearwire’s CFO, has been promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer (COO). In this position, Prusch will be responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations, including wholesale and retail sales, marketing, customer service, supply chain, human resources, IT and network operations. In addition, Hope Cochran, Clearwire’s senior vice president and treasurer, has been promoted to the position of CFO. Cochran will be responsible for all of the company’s financial and investor related functions, including overseeing Clearwire’s ongoing fundraising efforts.

The company also announced that Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer, and Kevin Hart, CIO, are both leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Both Sievert and Hart will remain with the company for a transition period. "We thank Mike and Kevin for their service and contributions during an incredible period of growth for Clearwire, and we wish them continued success in the future," said Stanton.

Today’s changes in executive leadership are not expected to impact the company’s progress on an agreement with Sprint to resolve wholesale pricing disputes. Clearwire believes that an agreement with Sprint is imminent.

Stanton has held numerous leadership positions during his career in the wireless industry. He currently serves as chairman of the board of Trilogy Partnerships including Trilogy International Partners which operates wireless systems in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bolivia and New Zealand. Stanton served as chairman and CEO of Western Wireless Corporation from 1992 until its acquisition by ALLTEL Corporation in 2005. From 1994 to 2003, Stanton served as chairman and CEO of VoiceStream Wireless Corporation, which was sold to Deutsche Telecom and became T-Mobile USA.


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