Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said yesterday that the company was maintaining its course despite a major reshuffling amongst its executive ranks, stating the extensive staffing changes would help the mobile WiMAX company’s ambitious expansion efforts.
Clearwire announced that its COO, Perry Satterlee, will step down. President and chief architect Barry West has been reassigned to oversee Cleawire’s foreign assets under the title President – International. In addition, Chief Technology Officer John Saw will now oversee the deployment of Clearwire’s broadband network on top of his other duties.
Morrow also announced the addition of Michael Sievert as chief commercial officer; Kevin Hart as chief information officer; and Laurent Bentitou as chief people officer.
“[There are] a multitude of reasons why we are announcing the structure the way it is today,” said Morrow in a response to a question posed by analyst John Hodulik of UBS during a conference call. “The first and foremost is to be able to scale up the business. We obviously have a lot of work in front of us. You know, we’ve been a small company in the past and we are obviously going to be a medium-sized to large-sized company as we go forward into the future. We are convinced that the demand is going to be there to require us to do that.”
The company’s capital expenditures were $112 million in the first quarter, and the company expects that figure to grow significantly next quarter as it builds out its network. CFO David Sach said the company’s expansion outlook remained steady, and that Clearwire planned to cover as many as 120 million people by the end of 2010. Still, he cautioned that “the ultimate scope and timing of our network buildout will largely be driven by the company’s market-by-market success and the availability of additional capital,” according to the call transcript provided by Seeking Alpha.
The executive shake-up comes amidst news that the company’s first-quarter losses shrank to $71.1 million, or 38 cents a share, on a rise in sales, which hit $62.1 million. The company’s expansion efforts netted it 25,000 new customers. In June, Clearwire will be expanding to Atlanta, adding nearly 3 million people to its coverage footprint in what will be its largest single market to date.
In addition to its earnings release and changes to its executive ranks, Clearwire also announced that Cisco Systems will provide the core infrastructure for its 4G WiMAX network. The two companies will jointly develop converged WiMAX- and Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices targeted at consumer, small office or home office (SOHO) and small- and medium-sized business (SMB) markets. The mobile WiMAX devices are expected to come out by the end of the year.