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T-Mobile CEO John Legere To Step Down; COO Mike Sievert Tapped To Lead After Sprint Mega-Merger

T-Mobile's outspoken CEO, John Legere, will be stepping down next year and will be replaced by current COO Mike Sievert. The company said Legere will stay on to help T-Mobile complete its $26.5 billion merger with Sprint.

T-Mobile announced a surprising move on Monday morning, revealing that its outspoken CEO John Legere will be stepping down at the end of April when his contract expires.

Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert, current T-Mobile president and chief operating officer, in April. T-Mobile said Legere will remain as a board member for a smooth transition and help pull its $26.5 billion merger with Sprint over the goal line.

Legere took to Twitter on Monday saying that Sievert is "absolutely the right choice" to be the next CEO of the soon-to-be combined Sprint and T-Mobile, and that the company's current COO will take what the two have been working on for the past seven years and "supercharge it."

"You’ve heard me joke that [Sievert] is “my son,” but in reality, since I hired him in 2012, he's been my mentee, my secret weapon and my friend. In our time we’ve launched 16 #uncarrier moves, shifted an archaic industry for consumers and wreaked havoc on the competition," Legere said on Twitter. "This move has been under development for a long time and I couldn’t be more confident in the future of [T-Mobile] under his leadership."

[Related: Partners: Sprint, T-Mobile MegaMerger Could Create A 'Viable' Third Wireless Carrier Option For Channel, Business Customers]

Sievert was one of Legere's first hires when he came on as CEO in 2012, Legere said. "I'm really pleased he will be at the helm for the company's next chapter of growth … [Sievert] is 100 percent committed to continuing the 'uncarrier' strategy. T-Mobile will continue to be a disruptive force in wireless and beyond," he said during a business update conference call on Monday morning.

T-Mobile also announced on Monday that it has promoted Neville Ray, its CTO, to president of technology. Braxton Carter, it's CFO who was thought to be leaving the company at the end of 2019, will remain on through at least July 1, 2020, the company said.

Legere also stressed during the call that T-Mobile hosted on Monday that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The move is a part of a multi-year succession plan for a "next-generation leader" for the combined Sprint and T-Mobile. The leadership announcement "changes nothing" for the company's merger plans.

T-Mobile and Sprint received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the FCC voted in October along party lines to approve the Sprint-T-Mobile merger in a 3-2 vote. The merger is expected to close in early 2020. 

The two companies have said that their merger will help them compete more aggressively with telecom incumbents AT&T and Verizon and create a stronger 5G story.

The move comes on the heels of reports last week that said Legere was a leading contender to become the next CEO of WeWork. Legere denied reports that he was ever interested in the position. SoftBank, Sprint's parent company, has a controlling interest in WeWork.

Legere said during the Monday call that he is not retiring and has already gotten interest from other companies looking for a cultural and leadership transformation. His T-Mobile contract bars him from taking a job with some direct carrier competitors. “It can’t be [with] companies I hate, which eliminates Verizon and AT&T from the list,” Legere said.

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