Dan Hesse is officially the man at Sprint Nextel, after resigning as CEO of Embarq to take on the huge challenge of righting the Sprint ship as their new CEO. Hesse is no stranger to Sprint, where he was appointed the CEO of Sprint’s wireline assets in 2005 prior to the Embarq spin off. Prior to Sprint/Embarq, Hesse spent over 20 years at AT&T and was CEO of AT&T’s wireless division from 1997-2000. He’ll need that wide ranging experience at Sprint, which has made numerous missteps since merging with Nextel. Hesse is also on the board of wireless giant Nokia. Hesse will have his work cut out for him.
Sprint is hemorrhaging subscribers and has many an investor nervous. Sprint is in such a weak position, it’s often thought of as a potential takeover target. There has been much speculation that cable giants like Comcast are eyeing Sprint as possible entrée into the wireless business. Sprint has formidable competitors in AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, all of whom have been feeding on disgruntled Sprint subscribers. Many of those disgruntled subscribers are former Nextel customers, some of whom have expressed feeling like “second class” citizens at Sprint. Hesse will have many immediate strategic decisions to make, including what to do with Xohm, Sprint’s WiMAX effort. Hesse’s decisions on which direction to take Sprint will have serious competitive implications on the entire telecom landscape. This one will be interesting to watch.