John Legere, outspoken head of T-Mobile US (pictured, right), announced plans to step back from his role as CEO at the end of April and hand the reins to COO Mike Sievert (pictured, left), despite ongoing uncertainty about the fate of the operator’s pending merger with Sprint.

Sievert will take over as president and CEO on 1 May 2020. Legere will remain a member of the board.

On a call with investors, Legere also announced the promotion of CTO Neville Ray to president of Technology, and the extension of CFO Braxton Carter’s contract to 1 July 2020. Carter was originally expected to leave at the end of 2019.

Legere hailed Sievert as “absolutely the right choice to be the next CEO,” noting he was instrumental in building the operator’s Uncarrier turnaround strategy following his hire as CMO in 2012 and promotion to COO in 2015.

“It’s Mike’s time. He’s ready. He’s at the perfect point, he’s done all the work. It’s time for him to lead.”

He added the news “changes nothing” about T-Mobile’s pending plan to merge with Sprint, but will help the company answer questions about long-term leadership as it faces off in court next month with state attorney generals aiming to block the deal.

Though surprising to some, Legere said the succession plan has been in the works since his appointment as CEO in 2012. He noted the timing of his departure was “always expected to be now, but we always expected for the New T-Mobile to exist about six months ago”.

What’s next
Legere explicitly denied recent reports he was in talks to take over as head of WeWork, but said he was unable to speak out about it last week because of the pending succession announcement.

However, he stressed he has no plans to retire and said he’s eyeing other companies in need of a cultural transformation akin to what’s been done at T-Mobile.

While he’s barred from working for a direct competitor, Legere said there’s little other restriction on where he might go next.