Clearwire Elevates Prusch To President And CEO


Wireless broadband provider Clearwire promoted chief operating officer Erik Prusch to president and CEO, and named interim CEO and chairman John Stanton executive chairman.

Prusch joined Clearwire in August 2009 as chief financial officer, leading the company's efforts to raise more than $6 billion in equity and debt to fund its ambitious 4G nationwide buildout. He was promoted to COO in March.

Clearwire's previous CEO, Bill Morrow, left the company in March.

Erik Prusch

Last week, Clearwire said it would overlay its WiMax network with LTE
-- which delivers upwards of 10 times the speed of WiMax -- but the
plan is subject to the company securing upwards of $600 million or more of additional funding.

"Erik has demonstrated the ability and talent necessary to lead our organization through one of the most competitive periods in the mobile broadband industry's short history," Stanton said in announcing the change Wednesday. "I strongly believe that under his guidance our business will deliver value to shareholders as we continue to grow our business and leverage our unmatched and unencumbered spectrum advantage."

Prior to joining Clearwire, Prusch was president and CEO of Borland Software, where he also previously served as CFO. Before that he served in various financial management roles at Intuit, Identix and Gateway Computers.

Clearwire is majority owned by Sprint Nextel, with investments from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel, Google and others. Clearwire's capital-intensive business model has left it with $78.8 million in cash and equivalents as of the end of June 2011, compared with $1.23 billion at the end of 2010.

Clearwire will run out of cash before the end of 2012 unless it obtains additional funding, according to Standard & Poor's.

Stanton, on the company's earnings call last week, said the company continues to discuss "an array of strategic alternatives" with outside parties, including strategic equity investments, sale of assets and various forms of debt financing including vendor debt.