Billionaire Claure to Make Millions More as Sprint CEO

By Josh Long Comments
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Marcelo Claure, the founder of the wireless distributor Brightstar Corp. and new chief executive of Sprint, is said to be worth nearly $1 billion. He stands to make even more money as the successor to Dan Hesse, whose tenure with the wireless carrier is ending after the company ditched its plans to merge with T-Mobile

Under an employment agreement with Sprint, the 43-year-old businessman will earn a base salary of $1.5 million plus a boatload of other financial perks including “long-term incentive compensation" of stock awards worth up to $24 million, according to a regulatory filing. And so long as Claure isn’t fired “for cause" and doesn't leave the company other than for “good reason," he gets to keep a $500,000 bonus just for agreeing to take the helm of the third-largest wireless carrier.

Claure’s Brightstar is an affiliate of Softbank, Sprint’s parent company. According to Forbes, Softbank last October shelled out $1.26 billion for a 57 percent stake in Brightstar, meaning Claure’s 42.1 percent stake in the company was worth nearly $925 million at the time of the acquisition.

Hesse, who has led Sprint since December 2007, isn’t hurting for money either. He earned a 2013 pay package worth more than $49 million, the Kansas City Star reported earlier this year. His pay included $34 million in stock and option awards, the paper said.

Sprint isn’t in the same financial position as its outgoing chief executive. It has been losing money for years, suffering more than $7 billion in losses the last two years alone. The company is counting on Claure to help reverse that trend and put Sprint on more solid footing to better compete with its larger rivals, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Sprint will have to get the job done without T-Mobile. Sprint’s board reportedly threw in the towel yesterday after realizing that a potential merger between the two companies faced stiff opposition from U.S. regulators.

It wasn’t the first time a potential deal involving some of America’s largest wireless carriers died in the face of regulatory opposition. Three years ago, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom AG. AT&T later called off the $39 billion agreement.

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