More difficult news for Clearwire today. A SEC filing confirmed founder and board chairman Craig McCaw will be resigning from his position effective today. Clearwire did not reveal the reasons for McCaw’s departure but confirmed it did not involve a disagreement over company policies, operations or procedures. This is not the first high-level departure from Clearwire’s board of directors. Earlier this year, Dan Hesse and two other Sprint executives left the board over anti-trust concerns.
McCaw is a big loss for Clearwire as the businessman has a long history in the cellular and cable industries. He took his father’s struggling cable business and built McCaw Cable Vision into the #20 cable provider in the U.S. during the cable boom of the 1980s. He was also the founder of McCaw Cellular which sold to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. The entrepreneur was involved in several failed communications ventures including Teledisc, a broadband satellite communications system that included Bill Gates as a partner and XO Communications which filed for bankruptcy in 2002. In 2003, McCaw founded Clearwire along with Benjamin Wolff and eventually moved to his position as Board Chairman for the WiMAX provider.
This loss of McCaw makes a bad situation worse for the struggling wireless company. The 4G provider is faced with increasing competition from Verizon Wireless’ LTE network and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. While competition is heating up, the wireless carrier is faced with financial difficulties as it tries to generate enough funds to continue its network build out. As a cost-cutting measure, the WiMAX provider announced plans to lay off 15% of its staff and cut back on both marketing and sales spending. It is also considering the sale of some of its ample spectrum. On the bright side, Clearwire received a shot in the arm when it sold $1.1 billion in sold debt securities earlier this month.
[Via Wall Street Journal]