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Clearwire chairman leaves, casts 4G plans into doubt

updated 07:45 am EST, Fri December 31, 2010

Clearwire chairman McCaw leaves today

Clearwire in an SEC filing revealed that its board chairman Craig McCaw was leaving the company on Friday. The executive had given the company just two days' notice and didn't give a personal reason. His exit wasn't due to disagreements with the company, the WiMAX company said in its official point of view.

An equity holding group, Eagle River, said it would nominate Ben Wolff as the replacement, but it's not known whether a vote has taken place or what other candidates would replace McCaw in the top spot.

The departure potentially compounds problems with Clearwire's 4G rollout plans. McCaw has been closely associated with the direction of the company and set much of its direction. His resignation followed just weeks after the carrier froze its smartphone plans and slashed 15 percent of jobs under fears that it might not survive past 2011 and after it sold debt to buy itself extra time.

Despite the power vacuum, it's not considered likely so far that close 4G partner Sprint will try to extend its influence. It recently reduced its stake in Clearwire to minimize the possibility of a cascade effect that could take down Sprint if Clearwire failed. Tech giants Google and Intel, as well as cable providers Bright House, Comcast and Time Warner, haven't said whether they would take action themselves.



By Electronista Staff
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