T-Mobile CEO John Legere will leave the company’s top job after his contract runs out on April 30, 2020, T-Mobile announced today. Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s president and chief operating officer, will replace Legere as CEO on May 1.
Legere, who became CEO in September 2012, revived a struggling company and led the “Un-carrier” strategy that pitched T-Mobile as a customer-friendly alternative to the AT&T/Verizon duopoly. T-Mobile’s Un-carrier moves changed some of the punitive business practices that mobile carriers routinely inflicted on customers.
But Legere’s T-Mobile also helped lead the way in making throttling of streaming video a standard industry practice. T-Mobile was punished by the federal government in 2016 for failing to adequately disclose speed and data restrictions on its “unlimited data” plans, and like other carriers, it sold its customers’ real-time location data to third parties. Legere often offered better deals than competitors, but US wireless prices still rank among the most expensive in the world.
Legere used a brash and combative style to promote T-Mobile, often insulting larger rivals AT&T and Verizon by calling them “Dumb and Dumber.” In 2017, he said that T-Mobile’s scientific research found that Verizon was the “Dumber” part of that pair. Legere will leave as T-Mobile attempts to complete its pending acquisition of Sprint, a deal that would reduce wireless competition in the US and make T-Mobile roughly the same size as AT&T and Verizon.
Legere helped T-Mobile and Sprint win the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice’s approval of the merger, but the companies must still defeat a lawsuit filed by a coalition of state attorneys general in order to complete the merger.
Legere was in talks with WeWork to take the CEO job at that company, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. But Legere disputed that news today, reportedly saying that “I was never having discussions to run WeWork.”
Legere led “complete transformation”
T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom gave Legere high praise today.
“John Legere has had an enormously successful run as CEO. As the architect of the Un-carrier strategy and the company’s complete transformation, John has put T-Mobile US in an incredibly strong position,” Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges said in the leadership-change announcement.
The switch from Legere to Sievert is the culmination of a “multi-year succession planning process led by John Legere and the Board of Directors,” T-Mobile said. Legere will remain as a member of the board after leaving the CEO position.
Sievert joined T-Mobile as its chief marketing officer in 2012, was promoted to chief operating officer in 2015, and added president to his list of titles in 2018. Legere was previously both president and CEO.
“I hired Mike in 2012 and I have great confidence in him,” Legere said today. “Mike is well prepared to lead T-Mobile into the future. He has a deep understanding of where T-Mobile has been and where it needs to go to remain the most innovative company in the industry.”
Sievert said that his “mission is to build on T-Mobile’s industry-leading reputation for… deliver[ing] an outstanding customer experience” and to make T-Mobile “the leading mobile carrier” and “one of the most admired companies in America.”