Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert as CEO, effective May 1, 2020. Sievert is currently president and COO of T-Mobile, and his new title will be president and CEO. Legere will remain a member of the board after he exits as chief executive; his employment contract with T-Mobile ends April 30.
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Reports last week said Legere was in talks to take over as CEO of WeWork, the troubled shared-workplace startup. According to a subsequent CNBC report, Legere doesn’t plan to take the WeWork job — and on a conference call Monday for investors, Legere said he was never engaged in talks to be WeWork’s chief executive.
“I was never having discussions to run WeWork,” Legere said. Because of T-Mobile’s pending announcement, he added, “I couldn’t say it, but it did create a weird awkward period of time.”
The colorful, shaggy-haired Legere — who delights in trash-talking his two biggest rivals, AT&T and Verizon — said in a tweet Monday that the CEO changeover “has been under development for a long time and I couldn’t be more confident in the future of @TMobile under [Sievert’s] leadership.” Legere hasn’t given an indication of what he plans to do after stepping down as CEO.
T-Mobile said the appointment of Sievert, 50, as CEO came after a “multiyear, comprehensive leadership succession planning process.”
Legere’s biggest legacies at T-Mobile will be growing the company into a robust and scrappy third competitor in the U.S. wireless market as well as leading the company’s $26 billion takeover of Sprint.
T-Mobile expects the Sprint deal to close in early 2020, some two years after it was originally announced. The companies have claimed the union will accelerate the rollout of next-gen 5G service nationwide. The FCC this month officially voted to OK the deal after the Department of Justice approved it this summer, but the T-Mobile/Sprint tie-up still faces opposition from state attorneys general who argue reduced competition in the sector will be bad for consumers.
“In the months ahead, my focus will be on ensuring a smooth leadership transition and continuing to work closely with the board and Mike to complete the Sprint transaction,” Legere said in a statement. “This merger will create the New T-Mobile — a company that is uniquely positioned to continue disrupting the wireless category — and beyond.”
Legere also has tried to disrupt the pay-TV business, with less success than T-Mobile has had in the core mobile arena. In late 2017, T-Mobile bought over-the-top television startup Layer3 TV for about $325 million and rebranded the service TVision Home this year — but the strategy hasn’t produced significant results as cord-cutting continues to erode the pay-TV biz.
More fruitful has been T-Mobile’s pact with Netflix, under which the carrier covers the cost of various Netflix packages for unlimited wireless customers who take at least two lines. T-Mobile also is on board as the exclusive wireless launch partner for Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s ambitious mobile-video gambit. Prior to joining T-Mobile in September 2012, Legere worked for companies including Global Crossing, Dell Computer and AT&T.
“John Legere has had an enormously successful run as CEO,” Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO and chairman of T-Mobile US, said in a statement. “As the architect of the Un-carrier strategy and the company’s complete transformation, John has put T-Mobile US in an incredibly strong position. I have the highest respect for his performance as a manager and as a friend, I am very grateful to him for the time together.”
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