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Sprint names Michel Combes as president and chief financial officer

  • Combes has come to be recognized as a turnaround strategist during his 30 years in the telecom industry.
  • Current CFO Tarek Robbiati will remain on through January, the company says.
  • Trading of Sprint was briefly halted ahead of the news.
A customer, right, looks at merchandise with an employee at a Sprint Corp. store in Palo Alto, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A customer, right, looks at merchandise with an employee at a Sprint Corp. store in Palo Alto, California.

Sprint on Thursday named seasoned turnaround strategist Michel Combes as president and chief financial officer in a move to return the company to profitability.

Combes will start Saturday, and current CFO Tarek Robbiati will remain on through January, the company said in a statement.

CEO Marcelo Claure said Combes is capable of accelerating the company's turnaround.

"He is a visionary executive with a proven track record of successfully transforming leading telecom and media companies and will help us to execute our strategic plan and strengthen our team," Claure said.

Combes has come to be recognized as a turnaround strategist during his 30 years in the telecom industry. He joined Alcatel-Lucent when it was near bankruptcy and oversaw its sale to Nokia, and he joined France Telecom when it was buried in debt and orchestrated its rebranding to Orange.

Combes most recently served as CEO of Altice NV. He will be appointed to Sprint's board of directors at a later date.

Shares of Sprint were halted ahead of the news and fell more than 5 percent after trading resumed.

Correction: An earlier version misstated the status of merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile. They ended in November.