Sprint Layoffs: CEO Claure Drops Major Execs, Sets Focus on Latino Market
In his first months as the new CEO of Sprint, Latin American entrepreneur and billion-dollar Bolivian wunderkind Marcelo Claure has already taken major action to turn the foundering wireless company around. This included some major layoffs in the company.
Recently, Claure's axe found some of Sprint's most top-ranking, veteran executives as well, as part of a new shift that includes taking aim at Latino and other multicultural markets.
Top executives at Sprint that are now departing after a long tenure at the company include the head of Enterprise Matt Carter, senior VP of communications and corporate responsibility Bill White, and Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hallock. Assuming replacements are found in time, all three are slated to leave the company by or before Spring 2015.
The top-level personnel shift also included some promotions within Sprint and some outside hires, including the Technical Chief Operating Officer from Sprint's parent company, SoftBank.
In the same internal Sprint memo obtained by Re/code announcing those leadership changes, Claure hinted at a new focus for Sprint on Latino consumers, as well as other untapped niches within the broad, and expanding, multicultural market in the U.S.
"We must capitalize on the changing demographics of the nation to win in the wireless market," Claure reportedly wrote in the memo. "We're conducting a comprehensive search for the best candidate to lead this group and expect to hire someone in the near future." In the memo, Claure also referenced the fact that 54 million Latinos live in the U.S., part the wider multicultural shift in U.S. demographics, which is predicted to expand in scope going forward.
The shift in strategy is smart, since studies consistently show that Latinos are more likely than other consumer niche demographics in the U.S. to own a smartphone, buy or upgrade to a new smartphone, and watch video on their smarpthones -- among other measures of tech-savvy behavior that lead consumer research giant Nielsen to declare Latinos "ahead of the digital curve" earlier this year.
It's also a subject that Claure -- who is best known before his time at Sprint for founding Brightstar, a mobile distribution company based in Latin America and elsewhere that is now worth over $10 billion -- is pretty familiar with.
More recently, as Re/code notes, Claure worked with Verizon and Jennifer Lopez last year to launch Viva Movil, a stylish specialty smartphone boutique aimed at Latinas -- though that initiative's success is still in question.
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