Activist investor Ralph Whitworth is stepping up pressure on Sprint Nextel's chief executive, Gary Forsee, and other directors of the wireless carrier, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site, citing an interview with Whitworth.
"We have lost confidence in Gary Forsee," the Journal quoted Whitworth as saying. Whitworth's Relational Investors LLC owns about 53.1 million shares, or roughly 1.9 percent, of Sprint's shares outstanding, the report said.
According to the article, Whitworth said he had lost faith in Forsee "primarily because of management's inability to forecast the company's results and their apparent inability to address the fundamental issues surrounding the core business."
The report said Whitworth stopped short of demanding that Forsee, also Sprint's chairman, step down. "We place the responsibility on the board," Whitworth told the Journal.
Whitworth in the interview threatened a proxy fight for board seats unless Sprint directors "immediately" deal with the company's leadership, the report said. He said Relational wants one or more board seats, according to the article.
Sprint declined to comment. Relational Investors could not immediately be reached for comment.