The danger of Son’s hands-on strategy at Sprint

Today’s must-read comes from Light Reading‘s Sarah Reedy, who takes a hard look at SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son’s plan to be very involved at Sprint. Reedy cites an internal memo outlining the need for changes to the carrier’s current organization structure, and she points to a recent piece in which Son said he regrets taking a laissez faire stance while running Comdex and Ziff Davis, two other U.S. companies. Son also wrote that he has already flexed some muscle at Sprint by terminating all existing contracts with ad agencies and opting to “start from scratch on advertising.”

Son is speaking from experience, obviously, and SoftBank’s $21.6 billion acquisition of a majority stake gives Son the right to lead Sprint however he’d like. But the many cultural differences between the two markets can make it difficult for executives from one nation to lead companies from the other, as I first wrote about several years ago. And Sprint is just beginning to play catch-up as it rolls out its nationwide LTE network, so this is a particularly vulnerable time for the carrier. Major missteps in the front office could be particularly damaging.