Activist Investor Amps Up for Sprint Fight

CEO slayer wants change at carrier
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2007 10:40 AM CDT
Various models of phones are displayed on a computer screen as a customer is helped at a Sprint store in this Feb. 28, 2007 file photo, in Murray, Utah. Of Sprint's leadership, activist investor Ralph...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ralph Whitworth isn’t happy with Sprint’s priorities or its management, and he’s one shareholder the wireless carrier can’t just laugh off. The principal of Relational Investors has parlayed small shares in Home Depot and Sovereign into the sacking of those corporations’ CEOs; now he says he’s “lost confidence in [Sprint honcho] Gary Forsee,” the Journal reports.

Whitworth’s grievances about the company—which is losing customers—start with its plans for a $5 billion investment in the untested broadband WiFi technology called WiMax. The activist investor, who holds 1.9% of the company’s stock, wants more focus on the existing cellphone business. For now, though, Whitworth’s angling only for board seats—and not for Forsee’s head.