Sprint and AT&T will both soon be seeing some changes at the top of their mobile phone divisions, albeit for very different reasons.
First Sprint CEO Gary Forsee resigned his post under fire from board members, industry analysts, and consumers alike for everything from lousy customer service to losing 337,000 subscribers in the third quarter of this year to investing somewhere around $5 Billion to be the first on the block to offer WiMax. Sprint's search for a new CEO is on, and whoever takes the post has some serious work ahead of them.
It's interesting because from my perspective in the media, Sprint has really been pushing to innovate more than almost anyone over the past twelve months. They've been rolling out new handsets left and right, dropped prices for over the air music downloads to 99 cents per track, and have taken chances with new hardware designs like the UpStage (even though that one didn't work out so well). So as a guy who gets to play with all the new phones as part of his job, I've been pretty impressed with Sprint lately.
But customer service has been a sore point with many subscribers, and the rollout plan for Xohm (Sprint's WiMax venture) may be a little too aggressive given the current state of the company's flagging finances. It will be very interesting to see who comes in as CEO and what s/he does to tighten up Sprint's bottom line and their overall business strategy.
AT&T on the other hand is merrily rolling along on the heels of the iPhone launch and rumors of a bevy of cool new handsets slated for launch in the coming weeks. And their executive shakeup is less a shakeup than a passing of the torch. Stan Stigman, the President and CEO of AT&T's mobile phone wing is retiring after 42 years with the company. Reports are that Stigman will stay on board through the end of the year to assist with the transition, and Ralph de la Vega has already been named as the new President and CEO of AT&T's Mobility unit. De la Vega formerly served as Cingular's COO and President of AT&T's regional telecom and entertainment group.