T-Mobile US tapped former CenturyLink CFO Sunit Patel (pictured) to help it navigate the complexities of its bid to merge with Sprint, in a move it said will substantially increase the deal’s chance of success.
Patel will assume the role of EVP, Merger and Integration Lead on 1 October, directing T-Mobile’s strategic planning regarding integrating its business with Sprint following the merger. He will report to T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert.
The proposed tie-up is still undergoing regulatory review by US officials, but the operators expect to close the deal in the first half of 2019.
Sievert said in a statement Patel “has the depth of knowledge needed to create and drive forward a highly complex, strategic initiative of this magnitude,” adding he will “have a tremendous impact on shaping the New T-Mobile”.
Indeed, Patel has experience wading through the muddy waters of major transactions. Prior to his role at CenturyLink, Patel served as CFO at Level 3 Communications for 14 years before it merged with CenturyLink in 2017. During that time, he helped navigate Level 3’s purchase of network operator Global Crossing and internet provider TW Telecom.
Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Jennifer Fritzsche observed in a research note Patel’s hire also “offers an interesting read through” of the future for current T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter. She added the “language in the merger documents led us to believe Carter may retire post the close of the merger”.