Sprint (NYSE: S) CEO Gary Forsee is out. So says The Wall Street Journal. Activist investors and a board impatient with poor financial performance finally brought him down. The company's stock has been depressed since Sprint merger with Nextel. Over the last three months the price drop has gotten worse, moving down 10% while shares in rival AT&T (NYSE: T) are up 5%.
The merger with Nextel was never right. Sprint's new customer additions were anemic each quarter as AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless kept up strong subscriber growth.
The biggest question about Forsee's exit is what it will mean for WiMax. Sprint is in the process of building the world's largest WiMax network, making a total investment of $5 billion. WiMax allows for very high wireless internet connections but uses a system entirely different from the 3G networks run by its competitors.
While WiMax has important supporters, including Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Motorola (NYSE: MOT), and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), a new Sprint CEO may be under pressure to cut capital spending. And, that could leave WiMax in limbo.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.