Although the outspoken CEO’s attitude might be unwelcome in some corporate settings, he’s successfully led the Bellevue wireless company out of a precarious last-place position to become the fastest-growing telecom in the country.
He livestreams his preparation of slow-cooker meals, tweets pictures of pets who need homes and loudly calls out his opponents.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere, a figure recognized for his long brown hair and magenta clothing, is not the typical business executive. In a different corporate situation, his outspoken attitude might be unwelcome.
But the candid CEO has led the Bellevue telecom company out of a precarious last-place position to become the fast-growing company it is today — one that boasts millions of new customers each year and is now the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. And under the proposed deal announced Sunday to merge with Sprint, Legere would serve as leader of the combined company.
Legere, 59, joined T-Mobile in 2012 when the carrier was struggling to compete against Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. He began calling the company the “Uncarrier,” in an attempt to set it apart from its competitors.
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Backed by a yearslong marketing effort, his plan worked. T-Mobile has become known as a wireless carrier that has given customers free pizza on Tuesdays, sold heavily discounted devices and convinced people who switch to its service to take advantage of unlimited streaming.
Legere often refers to the top two wireless carriers as “dumb and dumber,” criticizing their entrenched leaders for falling behind the times. T-Mobile, as he sees it, has been in a constant state of development — introducing new deals and technology to keep the industry moving forward.
One of the most-loved services is the unlimited data that comes along with the T-Mobile One plan. When he announced it in 2016, Legere declared the company was “completely destroying the whole concept of a data plan.”
Months later when Verizon debuted a similar plan, T-Mobile quickly announced new features on top of its previous plan.
“We drag the carriers kicking and screaming to the future,” he said in a February 2017 call with investors.
It’s been working. All four of the major U.S. carriers now offer some sort of unlimited-data plan.
Yet the others’ attempts to match T-Mobile’s promotions have so far not paid off. T-Mobile is the fastest-growing telecom in the country, adding more than 1 million customers each quarter for the past four years.
With results like that, investors probably don’t care how he runs his Twitter.