Telecom: A corporate rebel steps down
T-Mobile’s John Legere is hanging up his hot pink T-shirts, said Roger Cheng in CNET.com. The swashbuckling CEO, known for his long hair, magenta T-Mobile–branded clothing, and rapid-fire tweets to his 6.5 million followers, announced this week he is stepping down from the wireless carrier he “brought back from the dead.” From his first press conference in 2013, Legere “left the audience slack-jawed and in stitches”—but he backed up his brashness with “carefully calculated” moves, such as offering free international data, and at times “outstripped the rest of the field in growth.” Now he departs “at a critical time for T-Mobile,” whose acquisition of Sprint is tied up in court.
Legere managed to “shake up an industry that was going the way of cable TV,” said Tara Lachapelle in Bloomberg.com. When he took over T-Mobile in 2012, he saw—as he himself put it this week—“an opportunity to disrupt a stupid, broken, arrogant industry.” He turned T-Mobile from “a budget operator of last resort” into a company that drove innovation, and forced other carriers “to do things like offer unlimited data plans.” Consumers were the winners. Unfortunately, Legere’s last big move might undo that work. If the Sprint deal goes through, T-Mobile will be able to exploit its market power, just like AT&T and Verizon, and customers will be the ones who pay for that. ■