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Many Sprint Employees Want HQ Back In Kansas

When Sprint and Nextel merged, the executive offices were moved to Virginia, but with CEO Forsee's departure, many are lobbying to bring them back to Kansas.

Toto and Dorothy aren't in Kansas anymore and neither is Sprint's headquarters, but many Sprint people want to see the headquarters return to Kansas.

In the wake of Gary D. Forsee's departure as chairman and chief executive of Sprint, and as it's become evident that the bulk of the mobile phone company's subscriber losses have been former Nextel users, the lobbying to return the company's executive headquarters to Overland Park, Kan., has intensified.

The Washington Post reported that two former Sprint executives said a return to Kansas has been discussed by the company's top executives for more than a year, although no decision on the issue has been made. When Sprint and Nextel merged, executive offices for the company were established in Reston, Va., while operational headquarters remained in Kansas.

Sprint is looking outside the company for a replacement for Forsee, and it's unlikely any decision about the location of facilities would be made until the position is filled.

In another development, Sprint documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that Forsee will remain on the company's payroll until Jan. 1. "For purposes of Mr. Forsee's employment agreement, the termination date will be Jan. 1, 2008, and the severance benefits to which he is entitled under his employment agreement shall be determined and commence as of that date."

Forsee's employment package could place him in the growing ranks of top American chief executives who deliver lackluster results but are rewarded with spectacular compensation. His severance package would total as much as $55 million if all his benefits are lumped together, according to earlier Sprint official filings.

The company continues to struggle with a range of issues, including difficulties shifting Nextel users to new spectrum and paying for an ambitious rollout of WiMax.

Sprint's origins in Kansas date back to 1899, and the company is the Kansas City metropolitan area's largest employer. Kansas City's major arena is called the Sprint Center.

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