Beleaguered wireless carrier Sprint has a new CEO, Marcelo Claure, who is considering invoking the time-honored practice that is the hallmark of almost every new CEO - cutting jobs.
In a letter to employees sent by Claure on Monday, his first day as Sprint CEO, he hinted at cost-cutting and consolidating measures to come.
"As I have already said, consolidating makes sense in the long-term but, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint. In the short-term, our success will come from our focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace," Claure wrote.
He also mentioned he will address these issues in a company-wide townhall meeting this week.
Claure has been described by Masayoshi Son, chairman of Sprint's parent company SoftBank Corporation, as "a street fighter." It was Son who hired Claure from Brightstar, a wholesaler of wireless phones and another subsidiary of SoftBank.
"Marcelo is just like a street fighter. His face is like a bandit. When I first met him, I said, 'You look like a bandit,'" Son said. "He is a man who has a very similar culture to SoftBank."
Although the company just enjoyed its first profitable quarter in six years, Sprint's current problems with subscriber losses and a growth-stalling and costly national network upgrade program have kept them on their heels.
With their history of job cuts as a first resort, cuts in both personnel and costs might be expected in customer service, marketing and network spending. The company will likely revamp voice and data plans that have not delivered revenue and subscribers as planned. Its "Framily" friends-and-family voice and data plan, much promoted, is a likely target for a re-think.
Cuts to customer service personnel will likely accompany an attempt to convince customers to use the Internet for their support needs, according to David Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
The decision by SoftBank's Son to drop the pursuit of a merger with T-Mobile (for the foreseeable future) was made, according to Son, to apply company financial resources towards improving Sprint's marketing position and re-building its subscriber base. Son also was not bullish on the prospects of the merger surviving regulatory purgatory.
Another sign of Sprint's plans going forward came with the release of their Sprint Business Brand plan, a multi-million marketing effort that will focus on Sprint business services, a complete re-working of their attempts to gain a foothold in the enterprise market.
It is in the consumer marketplace, however, that Sprint must succeed if it is to recover from its present woes.