T-Mobile CEO John Legere capped off a crazy couple weeks that included the announcement of the long-anticipated merger with Sprint by taking home the hardware for CEO of the Year at the 2018 GeekWire Awards.
Outfitted in T-Mobile magenta literally from head to toe — glasses to sneakers — Legere delivered a vintage profanity-laden acceptance speech where he laid out his management philosophy: “Listen to your employees. Listen to your customers. Shut the f*** up and do what they tell you.”
Readers nominate their favorite companies, gadgets and people for the GeekWire Awards, and then a panel of judges select the finalists. Reader voting decides the winner. Legere beat out a stacked field of candidates in the CEO of the Year category: Michel Feaster of Usermind, Sandi Lin of Skilljar, Daryn Nakhuda of Mighty AI and Kieran Snyder of Textio.
Following the awards, GeekWire spoke to Legere about the blockbuster merger with Sprint, his future, and of course, all his Magenta gear.
You guys!! I won #GWAwards CEO of the year! Congrats to everyone who was nominated & thanks to all who cheered me on. #tmobile pic.twitter.com/6xrMWQiNJf
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) May 11, 2018
Legere has overseen a transformation at T-Mobile, going from a company that was nearly acquired twice, to the third largest wireless company in the U.S. with a cult following due to its “Un-carrier” reputation as the alternative to AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile’s customer count now tops more than 74 million. The company has added at least 1 million customers for 20 straight quarters, or approximately five years.
Legere’s outsized personality embodies T-Mobile’s transformation into the provocateur that has upended the wireless industry with its so-called Un-carrier Moves, like shedding wireless contracts, free international roaming and exempting streaming and music services from data usage.
The possibility of dropping from four major carriers to three with the proposed merger has stoked concerns about reducing the kind of competitive moves that T-Mobile has become known for. But in our conversation, Legere maintained that won’t be the case.
“It’s a big deal for not just T-Mobile, but for the country, and we’re going to build the 5G network the nation needs to lead in the innovation cycle of 5G,” Legere said of the Sprint merger. “And we’re going to take competition to a whole new level, so you can look forward to seeing broader services, lower prices, more jobs, stuff that Seattle will be proud of T-Mobile is going to famous for.”
At the awards Thursday, Legere was outfitted in magenta glasses, T-Mobile jacket and t-shirt and magenta shoes. Over the years, we’ve seen him a T-Mobile onesies, jerseys and hoodies. But the one piece of T-Mobile swag that he can’t live without? That would be magenta socks sporting Legere’s face on them.
Ok…. I’ll give you 3 guesses whose foot this is? Hint: look at socks and look at logo on sneakers? pic.twitter.com/gQhkqoK6l1
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 1, 2017
Legere has spent a lot of time in Washington D.C. in recent weeks telling the story of the merger, and he anticipates going back again soon. When asked about the regulatory process, Legere said he hasn’t run into any surprises and knows there are “a lot of organizations whose job it is to make sure that things are in best interest of the U.S., of the consumers of the U.S.” and he believes the Sprint merger fits the bill.
As a well-known businessman, who is getting some first-hand experience with the federal government, with a huge social media following, he seems to meet the qualifications for national political office in 2018. But the magenta-clad mobile magnate was quick to shoot down any possibilities of a political career.
“No, absolutely not. That would be a no on the political run,” Legere said.