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Bolivian Entrepreneur, South Florida Businessman Named Sprint's New CEO

Bolivian Entrepreneur, South Florida Businessman Named Sprint's New CEO

Posted by Juan Gavasa on August 07, 2014

The Bolivian-born founder of a cell phone distribution company is the new CEO of Sprint, one of the United States’ major wireless carriers. Sprint made its announcement about Marcelo Claure, 43, after it dropped its bid for rival wireless carrier T-Mobile.

Claure will replace Sprint’s longtime CEO Dan Hesse. Claure is the founder and CEO of Miami-based cell phone distribution giant Brightstar Corp. He built Brightstar into the world's largest distributor of cellphones. 

Claure, who will assume his new post on Aug. 11, according to worldcityweb.com, last year sold control of Brightstar to Japan’s Softbank Corp., which bought 70 percent of Sprint last year. Softbank will be acquiring Claure's stake in the Brightstar, it said.

The entrepreneur is a member of Sprint’s board. While he loves business and the wireless world, Claure also is known for his passion for soccer. He joined soccer star David Beckham in an effort to bring a Major League Soccer team to South Florida.

“What kills me is that the most dynamic and cosmopolitan city in the U.S. doesn’t have a soccer team,” Claure told reporters in May. “Now all the stars are aligned.” Claure owns Bolivia’s top soccer team, Club Bolivar. He bought the team in 2008.

Claure is rumored to have a net worth over more than $1 billion. Brightstar had about $7 billion in revenue in the year ending June 2013, according to Bloomberg.

The Bolivian businessman holds investments in Bolivia and Mexico, according to Bloomberg. “I’m happy with the amount of wealth I’ve created for myself,” Claure said, refusing to elaborate. “I like to leave it at that.”

Among the challenges ahead for the new CEO will be completing the rollout of high-speed services and stemming the defection of customers to competitors. In his own statement, Claure suggested Sprint would be taking on Verizon and AT&T through price cuts.

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