Sprint appoints former Altice head Michel Combes as CFO


Jan 4 (Reuters) - Sprint Corp on Thursday appointed former Altice NV CEO Michel Combes as chief financial officer, a month after it struck a deal with the cable operator's U.S. business to develop a 5G network.

Combes was ousted from Altice NV in November as the company sought to reassure investors after its shares dropped 30 percent within a week. Combes, 55, had been brought to put Altice's ailing French mobile operator SFR back on track. (http://reut.rs/2lTOirC)

Sprint's shares were down 4.8 percent at $5.61 in early trading.

Combes replaces Tarek Robbiati, who had chalked out Sprint's turnaround strategy with an aim to return the company to revenue growth in 2018.

Altice USA and Sprint announced a multi-year agreement in November that will allow the U.S. telecom provider to use Altice's cable infrastructure to transmit cellular data and develop a 5G network. (http://reut.rs/2CsAkUR)

Combes, who will relocate to Kansas City for his new role, has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications business.

"He has strong Street credibility and comes to Sprint as the company is looking to turn the ship around in a choppy environment," Daniel Ives analyst with GBH Insights said.

He will also be appointed to Sprint's board at a later date and will be responsible for leading the company's financial operations, strategy and continued cost transformation, the wireless carrier said.

"Bringing him on board will help to accelerate our progress as Sprint begins the next chapter of our transformation," Chief Executive Marcelo Claure said in a statement.

Sprint and T-Mobile had recently called off their merger talks to create a stronger U.S. wireless company to rival market leaders, leaving Sprint to engineer a turnaround on its own.

(Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)