COO Mike Sievert to take over after closing of $26 billion Sprint deal
John Legere, the flamboyant executive who led a turnaround of T-Mobile in the highly competitive wireless carrier space, will step down as CEO next year after the expected completion of the company’s high-profile $26 billion merger with rival Sprint.
The Lowdown: Mike Sievert, currently T-Mobile’s COO and a member of the board of directors, will take over as president and CEO May 1, 2020, the day after Legere’s current contract expires. Legere, who has led T-Mobile since 2012, will remain on the company’s board, directors announced Monday.
The Details: Legere and Sievert have worked closely together over the past seven years to help reverse the fortunes of T-Mobile, which had been the fourth-largest carrier. During that time, T-Mobile – which promoted itself as the “Un-Carrier” – overtook Sprint for the No. 3 position and made itself more competitive against AT&T and Verizon.
The change in leadership is part of a succession plan that the company has put together with involvement from Legere. When the merger with Sprint was announced in April 2018, the carriers said Legere would continue to run the combined company, with Sievert being its COO and president. However, reports surfaced this year saying that once the deal was closed, Sievert would take over as CEO.
Legere said in a Tweet that the plan to hand over the reins to Sievert had been in the works for a long time.
The Impact: The merger with Sprint will make T-Mobile a much larger and more powerful player in the wireless carrier field. The Department of Justice in July gave its approval to the deal, though several state attorneys general have sued to stop the merger, claiming it would hurt consumers. Having the deal done would be a crowning achievement for Legere as he steps down as CEO.
Background: Legere, who was usually clad in T-Mobile’s magenta and black colors, gave the carrier a rebellious vibe when he assumed control of T-Mobile. He also made several moves to separate it from rivals in a bid to grow its subscriber list, including launching unlimited wireless plans, dumping two-year contracts, offering to pay the fee for customers making the switch from other carriers, and bringing the Apple iPhone to T-Mobile.
Sievert, who first came to T-Mobile as chief marketing officer and was later promoted to COO and then also given the president title, is currently in charge of the company’s marketing, retail, and product efforts. He also worked closely with Legere in planning the merger with Sprint.
The Buzz: “Mike is well prepared to lead T-Mobile into the future,” Legere said. “He has a deep understanding of where T-Mobile has been and where it needs to go to remain the most innovative company in the industry. I am extremely proud of the culture and enthusiasm we have built around challenging the status quo and our ongoing commitment to putting customers first. Together, these attributes have distinguished T-Mobile in the marketplace and on Wall Street, giving us a powerful business advantage that is instilled throughout every level of T-Mobile. I am confident it will thrive under Mike’s leadership.”
“The Un-Carrier culture, which all our employees live every day, will not change,” Sievert said. “T-Mobile is not just about one individual. Our company is built around an extraordinarily capable management team and thousands of talented, committed, and customer-obsessed employees. Going forward, my mission is to build on T-Mobile’s industry-leading reputation for empowering employees to deliver an outstanding customer experience and to position T-Mobile not only as the leading mobile carrier, but as one of the most admired companies in America.”
“I have had the opportunity to get to know Mike both personally and professionally over our years of working together, and I am very pleased to be welcoming him to his impending new role,” said Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO, and chairman of the board of T-Mobile U.S. “He has been actively involved in all our most important corporate decisions since he joined T-Mobile in 2012. Mike is an experienced, passionate, and results-oriented leader who cares deeply about our employees and customers and lives the Un-Carrier values of the T-Mobile brand every day. He has the support of John Legere and the full confidence of the board.”