Sprint’s board is watching CEO Dan Hesse closely amid investor unrest

After five years at Sprint’s helm, CEO Dan Hesse’s effectiveness is being called into question. While Hesse and his team have managed to stall subscriber defection, revenue continues to decline. With flops in Clearwire, WiMAX, LightSquared and a risky $15.5 billion gamble on Apple’s iPhone, Sprint investors fear the CEO may not have what it takes to lead the company against AT&T and Verizon Wireless in an industry that regulators fear has already grown too concentrated. Big investors have voiced strong concerns that the company’s management, led by Hesse, isn’t up to the job, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Dragos Stefanescu, a director for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, sharply criticized Mr. Hesse at a lunch meeting in Boston last year, voicing his concerns about Sprint’s complicated network plan. The Journal’s sources, however, claim that the board remains confident in Hesse, though their close watch over every move the CEO makes suggests otherwise. “The board has been stunningly engaged,” one person said. “It sort of has to be because the company’s not doing well.”

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