Clearwire Names William Morrow As CEO

Co-founder Benjamin Wolff will continue with Clearwire as co-chairman, sharing that position with Craig McCaw.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

March 10, 2009

2 Min Read

Clearwire has shifted its central management focus from deal-making and finances to operations by replacing its co-founder and CEO, Benjamin Wolff, with new CEO William Morrow, a seasoned telecommunications executive.

Morrow, 49, who has held executive positions at Vodafone and AirTouch International, left the CEO position at Pacific Gas & Electric early last summer amid reports that he wanted to get back into the international telecom sector. His wish is now fulfilled as Clearwire races to deploy its nationwide WiMax network.

Wolff, an attorney, will continue with Clearwire as co-chairman, sharing that position with company chairman Craig McCaw. Wolff hammered together Clearwire's strategic partnership with Sprint Nextel, which is the dominant partner in Clearwire. He also was at the helm of Clearwire when the company raised $6 billion in equity and debt financing.

"Years of experience in key positions with great companies such as AirTouch and Vodafone have given Bill [Morrow] a great perspective on achieving operating efficiencies and enhancing value creation to profitably build and scale businesses," McCaw said in a statement. "This experience, coupled with his outstanding leadership capabilities, makes Bill the perfect choice to lead Clearwire."

In 2006, Morrow joined PG&E where, according to Clearwire, he oversaw operations. Prior to that, Morrow was CEO of Vodafone, Europe; CEO of Vodafone UK; and president of Vodafone KK in Japan. In addition, he was president of Japan Telecom and also held senior executive positions with wireless telecom carrier AirTouch International.

Clearwire said Wolff, 39, will focus his attention on Clearwire's strategic and financing activities. He also will continue in his traditional role as president of Eagle River, McCaw's investment company.

"Ben Wolff has routinely made the impossible possible," McCaw said. "He has been instrumental in leading the company from its inception to the point that it is at today ... building and operating the world's largest multimegabit wireless broadband network spanning four countries and serving nearly 500,000 customers."

Clearwire is racing to deploy its mobile WiMax network before Verizon Wireless can roll out its LTE network. Clearwire has two urban mobile WiMax deployments -- Portland, Ore., and Baltimore. The latter network was initially deployed by Sprint, and Clearwire recently said it will roll out mobile WiMax networks this year in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Philadelphia; and Seattle.

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