Sprint is starting the new year with a new face in the C-Suite: The Overland Park telecom giant announced this morning that Michel Combes would be coming on board as president and chief financial officer, reporting to CEO Marcelo Claure. In a news release announcing the change in management structure, the company also said that Combes would be appointed to Sprint’s board of directors at a later date.
The company said Combes would be responsible for leading Sprint’s financial operations, strategy and continued cost transformation.
“Michel is an extremely capable and accomplished global telecom and cable industry leader and I know bringing him on board will help to accelerate our progress as Sprint begins the next chapter of our transformation,” said Claure. “He is a visionary executive with a proven track record of successfully transforming leading telecom and media companies and will help us to execute our strategic plan and strengthen our team.”
Sprint Chief Financial Officer Tarek Robbiati will leave the company on Jan. 31.
“Tarek’s contributions to Sprint have been invaluable including his leadership to drive operating cost reductions and execute innovative financial transactions to fund our turnaround and significantly reduce the company’s cost of capital,” said Claure. “I thank Tarek for his hard work and commitment to Sprint and wish him continued success in the future. Today Sprint is in its best liquidity position in years and that is in large part due to the financial discipline and innovative financing that Tarek implemented.”
Combes, 55, has led telecommunications and cable companies for more than 30 years, covering a range of technologies–wireless, wireline and equipment manufacturers. He previously served as COO, then CEO of Altice N.V., a convergent global leader in telecom, content, media, entertainment, and advertising, and as chairman and CEO of SFR Group, a leading French telecommunications and media company.
Combes what the architect of what industry leaders consider two of the most successful turnarounds in the telecom history. After joining a nearly bankrupt Alcatel-Lucent in 2013, he righted the ship and cleared the way for its sale to Nokia. Before that, he was the financial muscle for France Telecom, coming on board when it was the second most indebted company worldwide in terms of short-term liabilities. During his tenure there, Sprint said, he led the financial restructuring of the business, which then rebranded as Orange and is now the largest fixed and wireless telecommunications operator in France.
“I have known Marcelo for many years and am delighted to join the Sprint team and build upon the great progress achieved to date,” said Michel Combes. “This is an exciting challenge and unique opportunity to help lead a distinguished company through an historic turnaround and its most exciting period yet.”