Friday, October 12, 2007

Speculation on Forsee

Gary Forsee was forced out of the CEO position at Sprint Nextel this week, and handed parting gifts of around $55 million. My question is "why now"? I mean, the stock's up over his four years, and they did it right before the opening of the Sprint Center - an occasion where they could have projected an image of strength and stability instead of having to scurry around to find someone to cut the ribbon. Even if they thought he wasn't doing a good job, the timing was poor and odd.

Could the answer be found in Washington?

This past week, the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee approved some changes to the FISA, and one of the bones of contention is whether Congress will give telecom companies secrecy and immunity for their cooperation with the people who want to spy on Americans. Could it be that Forsee lost his job because he allowed the NSA to spy on Sprint customers? Could it be that in the boardrooms of Sprint, the "powers that be" canned him not because of mediocre performance (they should be accustomed to that), but because he violated the privacy of Sprint customers - a breach of faith that could expose the company to bankrupting lawsuits and a PR nightmare equivalent to Bhopal and tainted Tylenol?

Let's be clear here - I have zero evidence to support my theory, beyond the fact that Sprint chose an awkward time to fire its leader, and that time coincides with the possibility that the American public might find out who has been allowing the Bush administration to listen to its calls. And that $55 million would sure buy him a nice place in Costa Rica . . .

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Blogger emawkc said...

Wow Dan, I think your tinfoil hat might be on a bit too tight.

Actually, from what I've read the board began a search for Forsee's replacement a few months ago, it's just that the spying journalists at the Wall Street Journal broke the story this week.

And speaking of spying, as a good party line-toeing liberal, I would imagine that you would be in favor so the government spying on people since the Congressional Democrats seem to be supporting it.

10/12/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

Could the firing of Forsee be seen as the Sprint board giving themselves cover for allowing the government to spy on their customers? Forsee could have negotiated his exit to give Sprint some cover.

If we're going to speculate, let's go all the way with it.

10/12/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You folks amaze me. This was a business decision - it didn't have a damn thing to do with politics. A very vocal institutional investor forced out Forsee. The investor has been laying the ouster for months.

Try leaving your bubble occasionally.

10/12/2007 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dudes -

It's a speculative guess, labeled as such. Even if you think he's wrong, why be such a douche? He's not acting like Tony, who would claim that Forsee definitely got canned because he spied on Mexicans, and that he has talked to him on the phone about it.

10/12/2007 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is why bloggers will never be seen as serious journalists. Way to screw it up for everyone else, Dan!

10/14/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

You are sincerely welcome, anonymous. Bloggers should not be seen as serious journalists. Bloggers are not serious journalists, with very, very few exceptions. The last thing I would ever want is for people to accept bloggers as serious journalists.

Beyond your wildly flawed premise, I'm curious what you find so upsetting about this post. It raises a question, and accurately labels it as speculation. It admits that I have zero evidence to support it outside of a little coincidence in timing.

It fairly raises an interesting point, and probably informs some readers about the controversy surrounding telcom immunity.

10/14/2007 9:15 AM  

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