T-Mobile CEO Set To Hand Over Reins Next Year -- WSJ

Date : 11/19/2019 @ 8:02AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : T Mobile US Inc (TMUS)
Quote : 75.47  0.58 (0.77%) @ 4:59AM
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T-Mobile CEO Set To Hand Over Reins Next Year -- WSJ

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By Drew FitzGerald 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (November 19, 2019).

T-Mobile US Inc. said Chief Executive John Legere will step down this spring, handing the top job to operating chief Mike Sievert.

Mr. Sievert, 50 years old, will become chief executive on May 1, taking over after Mr. Legere's current employment contract expires. The company said Mr. Legere will remain a director.

T-Mobile faces a litany of challenges before then, including an antitrust lawsuit brought by a coalition of state attorneys general against T-Mobile's planned $26 billion-plus takeover of Sprint Corp. A trial is scheduled to start Dec. 9 in New York.

"The timing was always expected to be now, but we always expected the new T-Mobile to exist about six months ago," Mr. Legere said Monday in a conference call.

Mr. Legere's planned departure caps a seven-year stretch at the Bellevue, Wash., carrier, where he turned a struggling also-ran into the third-largest U.S. carrier, largely by luring customers away from bigger rivals AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. The company has grown its customer base while Sprint has faltered.

The change comes after the Journal reported that Mr. Legere was in negotiations to take over as chief executive of We Cos., the parent of WeWork. We investor SoftBank Group Corp. has been looking for a leader to succeed founder Adam Neumann.

Mr. Legere, 61, said Monday he was "never having discussions to run WeWork" but made it clear he was contemplating his next act at another company.

"I'm not retiring," he said. "I'm already getting a tremendous amount of input of companies that could use cultural transformation, leadership and things similar to what we've demonstrated here."

The handover was carefully planned. T-Mobile positioned Mr. Sievert to take on more responsibilities in recent years. He was named chief operating officer and joined its board in early 2018. T-Mobile is controlled by Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany's incumbent carrier.

Mr. Sievert joined T-Mobile in 2013 after stints at Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software division and at Clearwire Corp., a struggling wireless broadband service that later merged with Sprint.

The company also said current Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter extended his contract through at least July 1. His previous contract was slated to expire Dec. 31.

T-Mobile's share price is up roughly 240% since Mr. Legere became CEO in September 2012, compared with a 114% gain in the S&P 500 index over that same period. The stock slipped 1% in Monday morning trading.

Mr. Legere's compensation package totaled $66.5 million last year, and he was eligible to receive as much as $109 million if the company met certain performance targets. When T-Mobile struck the merger deal with Sprint, it also extended Mr. Legere's employment contract through April 30, 2020.

T-Mobile's proposed takeover of Sprint has secured approval from federal telecommunications and antitrust officials, but it has been delayed by the states' antitrust suit. The company earlier this month promised a $15-a-month data plan aimed at responding to criticism that its merger with Sprint would lessen competition.

When T-Mobile announced that and other consumer-friendly pledges, Messrs. Legere and Sievert shared the stage.

Write to Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 19, 2019 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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