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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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March 9, 2009 1:28 PM

Clearwire exec shuffle: new CEO, Wolff joins McCaw as co-chairman

Posted by Brier Dudley

Clearwire co-founder Ben Wolff is stepping down as chief executive, the Kirkland-based wireless broadband company announced today.

Taking his place is William Morrow, a former AirTouch and Vodafone executive who most recently was chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco.

The shuffle comes a few days after Clearwire announced that it's slowing the pace of its network expansion to conserve cash. It's still expanding to major metro areas and the Seattle area should get its faster Clear service later this year.

In the release, McCaw called out Morrow's telecom experience.

"Years of experience in key positions with great companies such as AirTouch and Vodafone have given Bill a great perspective on achieving operating efficiencies and enhancing value creation to profitably build and scale businesses," McCaw said. "This experience, coupled with his outstanding leadership capabilities, makes Bill the perfect choice to lead Clearwire. I have every confidence that he has the capability, intelligence and dedication to inspire the exemplary team at Clearwire to fulfill the dream of making the power of the Internet truly mobile."

Morrow has lots of experience running wireless organizations abroad, having led Vodafone's British and Japanese operations, so perhaps we'll hear soon about Clearwire's international plans.

The shift was announced after the market closed. Clearwire closed up 4 percent at $2.93, but has recently been down about 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Wolff "will focus on Clearwire's strategic and financing opportunities," the release said. He'll also continue to serve on the CTIA board and as president of McCaw's Eagle River investment company.

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