T-Mobile CEO: ‘The world doesn’t need another cookie-cutter business-school leader’

Legere young and old
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University, and a master’s from MIT Sloan School of Management. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; John Legere/Instagram

For a typical product announcement, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere will be decked out in bright magenta down to his sneakers.

And he’s probably going to drop a couple f-bombs.

In other words, he’s nothing like the CEOs of his two main competitors, Verizon and AT&T, and deliberately so.

Since joining T-Mobile in 2012, Legere has reinvented the company as the “Un-carrier,” the opposite of the competition.

Part of his strategy has included embracing dressing and acting like an eccentric startup owner and treating T-Mobile as a hungry underdog. It’s worked so far — in the past four years, he’s more than doubled customers due to a revamped network and industry-changing initiatives like the removal of contracts.

If you take a look at photos of Legere from his previous jobs, whether as the CEO of Global Crossing Limited or an executive at AT&T or Dell, however, you’ll see someone who resembles a Wall Street trader from the 1980s.

“Part of my role at T-Mobile is the ability to just be myself, because I’m 58 years old and I’ve done very well, and I don’t need to fight my way up the hierarchy with my suit and hair anymore,” he told Business Insider in a recent interview.

If he could go back in time and give his younger self any advice, he said, it would be to embrace this freedom even earlier than he did.

“If you go back in my career, you’ll find I’ve always been a lead-from-the-front people-manager guy,” he said. “I’ve always been outspoken. I’ve always attempted to break the mould. My advice to myself, then, would be to go all in on it. The world doesn’t need another cookie-cutter business-school leader. The world needs somebody to stick out and be loud and proud.”

His 3 million Twitter followers regularly watch Legere be “loud and proud” through social media:

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