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Morrow leaves CEO post at Clearwire; Stanton interim chief

Fri, 03/11/2011 - 7:15am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Three of Clearwire's top executives, including CEO Bill Morrow, are leaving the company amid a major shakeup at the mobile WiMAX operator.

Clearwire said Morrow left his post for "personal reasons." John Stanton, who became chairman of Clearwire's board of directors in January, will take Morrow's place on an interim basis as the company searches for a replacement and will remain chairman.

Mike Sievert, Clearwire's chief commercial officer, and company CIO Kevin Hart are also leaving the company "to pursue other opportunities." Sievert and Hart will remain with the company for a transition period as Clearwire works to refill their positions.

"The entire management team at Clearwire remains focused on delivering value to its customers and shareholders," Clearwire said.

According to an SEC filing, Morrow will receive a severance package of up to $1.8 million, including a lump sum payment of $900,000 for his base salary and three payments of $300,000 for consulting work conducted after his resignation. Hart and Sievert will also receive unspecified benefits.

Clearwire also announced it was promoting CFO Erik Prusch to chief operating officer. Hope Cochran, Clearwire's senior vice president and treasurer, will take Prusch's position as the company's financial chief.

The upheaval in Clearwire's executive ranks comes as the company continues to struggle financially. The company remains short on cash despite a recent funding round, prompting it to scale back its network expansion and leave plans to launch its first Clear-branded smartphone on the back burner.

Clearwire is also working to sort out an ongoing dispute with Sprint, its majority shareholder, over wholesale pricing for smartphone customers.

Clearwire said the exits of Morrow, Sievert and Hart are "not expected to impact the company's progress on an agreement with Sprint to resolve wholesale pricing disputes." Clearwire said it believed an agreement with Sprint over the issue is "imminent."

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