Originally posted on Gigaom:
Three months after T-Mobile USA’s CEO Philipp Humm quit to move to Vodafone(s vod), the carrier finds itself welcoming its new chief. Deutsche Telekom has named former Global Crossing CEO John Legere to take over its US mobile arm.
Legere, 54, will officially change offices on Sept. 22, when interim CEO Jim Alling will return to his old job as T-Mobile’s COO. From his resume,
Alling Legere seems like an odd choice. Global Crossing, which was acquired by Level 3 Communications(s lvlt) last year, was a submarine cable operator providing the fiber connections that link continents, not a consumer-facing wireless business. Legere had a stint at Dell Computer(s dell), but the last time he worked at a retail carrier was in 1998 at AT&T, and even there he wasn’t working in the cellular or consumer side of the house. He managed AT&T’s Asian wireline business operations and headed up corporate strategy.
But then again, someone unaccustomed to how things are usually done in the US mobile industry is exactly what T-Mobile needs right now. If T-Mobile is to succeed it will be through challenging the status quo established by AT&T(s t) and Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod), which collectively manage two-thirds of all US mobile connections. T-Mobile started down that path after its planned merger with AT&T failed last year. As I wrote when Humm departed in June, T-Mobile’s new CEO shouldn’t change a thing about strategy. It’s not clear whether Legere is going to listen to GigaOM, but hopefully he’ll listen to the T-Mobile’s more-than-capable staff, who started laying the foundation of that challenger strategy long before DT got into bed with Ma Bell.