Morrow walks away from Clearwire

Bill Morrow, CEO of embattled US WiMAX player Clearwire, has resigned his position effective immediately, citing personal reasons. Chairman John Stanton will fill in as interim CEO while the firm searches for Morrow’s full-time replacement. Morrow will act as an advisor to the company during the handover.

Clearwire has epitomised the struggles of the WiMAX community, with its recent history scarred by disruption. Towards the end of last year the firm began looking to sell off its spectrum—considered the firm’s greatest asset in the light of its technological isolation—in a bid to raise funding. The firm’s backers, led by US carrier Sprint, were unwilling to reach once more into their pockets.

In November the firm reported Q3 losses of $139.4m and announced it would be making dramatic cuts in its sales and marketing spend, suspending the launch of branded retail outlets and devices. Network expansion was halted and 15 per cent of the workforce was earmarked for redundancy. At the time Morrow said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the firm’s financial woes could be addressed but this optimism has yet to be justified. Now, for Morrow at least, it is no longer an issue.

To make matters worse Clearwire is in the midst of a dispute with Sprint over wholesale rates. Sprint continues to reiterate its commitment to Clearwire but speculation abounds that it is keen to extricate itself from the venture. In recent weeks talk of a merger between Sprint and fellow US carrier T-Mobile has been growing in volume, and it is difficult to see how such an aspiration could bode well for Clearwire. Sprint has promised to announce its LTE strategy later this year.

Announcing the departure of Morrow, Clearwire said that it did not believe that management changes—the CIO and CMO are also headed for the door—would impact on the resolution of its dispute with Sprint, which it said it believed was “imminent”.

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