Sprint (NYSE: S) Nextel, the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, said today it plans to move its headquarters back to Kansas, where it employs 13,000 people in the Overland Park suburb, according to Reuters.
CEO Dan Hesse said the company will move only a small number of executives from its current headquarters in Reston, Va., where about 4,400 total employees work. Sprint moved to Reston in 2005, after buying Reston-based Nextel Communications. Hesse, who was living in Kansas as the former CEO of Embarq, was hired in December to turn the company around. So far, he’s announced 4,000 layoffs and that they’ll close 125 retail locations. There is no official date for when the company will move.
In a USA Today story earlier this week, Hesse hinted that he may move the company’s headquarters and acknowledged that by having two, it was difficult to integrate the operations and cultures of Sprint and Nextel. The story said: “Hesse thinks the two-city approach was a mistake, saying it sent the wrong message to employees and compounded the company’s cultural clashes.”
The story also detailed Hesse’s plan for change. He recently “polled all 60,000 employees on 17 ‘cultural imperatives,’ behaviors that will define Sprint’s corporate culture. The poll, via e-mail, asked employees to rank the importance of a number of factors, including accountability, customer focus and innovation. With 48 hours to respond, about 30,000 did. Hesse says he’s using those responses to help define Sprint’s culture. ‘After that,’ he says pointedly, ‘I don’t ever want to hear about two cultures again’.”