Sprint Nextel is quietly looking for a new CEO to replace Gary Forsee, WSJ reports ($). This isn’t a shocker: the no. 3 wireless carrier has struggled since acquiring Nextel for $35 billion in 2004. And while we’re optimistic about Sprint’s new super-fast WiMax network, some investors aren’t convinced that Sprint’s $5 billion WiMax bet is a smart one.
WSJ’s Deal Journal blog has a list of potential replacements, including Nextel’s former CEO Tim Donahue, Verizon (VZ) President Denny Strigl, and Steven Bornstein, a former Disney/ESPN exec who is now CEO of the NFL Network. That last suggestion is based on the notion that the carriers are no longer just carriers but providers of data (Internet services, messaging, etc.) and entertainment (ringtones, video, etc.), and should think of themselves accordingly. The problem with that notion: Carriers are staffed with people who are good at running mobile networks, but not providing data and entertainment services — because they’re fundamentally different skill sets. Simply bringing in an entertainment exec — even a good one, like Bornstein — won’t change that.