Sprint calls off T-Mobile merger; names new CEO

Sprint confirmed Wednesday Marcelo Claure will take over as president and CEO of the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Claure, 43, had served as founder and CEO of Brightstar Corp., a wireless distributor based in Miami and subsidiary of Sprint parent company Softbank. Claure will assume the Sprint CEO role on August 11. The executive shift follows reports that Sprint planned on calling off its merger with T-Mobile, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., because of challenging regulatory hurdles. Both companies had been working on a potential merger valued as high as $50 billion.

Last week, French telecom Iliad confirmed it made a bid to scoop up T-Mobile for $15 billion. In a statement, Claure says he will focus immediately on "competing aggressively" in the marketplace. "While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint."

Claure will replace Dan Hesse, who had served as Sprint CEO since 2007. During his tenure, he navigated the wireless carrier's merger with Softbank, completed last year, and shut down Nextel network, which Sprint acquired in 2004.

Although Sprint is the third largest U.S. carrier, the company has struggled to capture the attention of mobile consumers. AT&T and Verizon dominate much of the U.S. mobile market, while T-Mobile has generated buzz over its "Uncarrier" strategy that moves away from traditional mobile contracts. USA Today [Editor's Note: It is not known whether the new CEO will keep the NASCAR Sprint deal going – i.e. whether he thinks NASCAR is the right marketing platform for the Sprint brand.]

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