Sprint announced today that Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product and technology development, is leaving to become the CEO of an unnamed venture in Kansas City, MO. Packingham has largely been the driving force behind developing Sprint's 4G network as well as the release of the first 4G compatible phone in the U.S., the EVO. This announcement comes just as Sprint unveiled plans to make their next 4G phone, the Epic, available by the end of the month.
Packingham, who has been with Sprint since 1999, will be departing the company as of Monday, August 16th. Sprint does not plan to backfill the vacant position, however. Fared Adib, VP of Product Development, and his direct manager, Steve Elfman, will handle the duties going forward, with the development teams reporting to Elfman.
Those who are Sprint fans have rejoiced recently as the company has seen the beginnings of a turn around in subscriber base. For the first time in three years, Sprint actually posted a net gain in customers in the most recent quarter. According to an article from the Associated Press, Sprint had been losing subscribers ever since they acquired Nextel back in 2005.
With Sprint essentially betting the farm on 4G, I suspect this departure will have little material effect on the future development of devices and services. Nevertheless, it is somewhat sad to see the person that brought us such a great phone in the form of the EVO 4G moving on to a new venture. We wish him the best of luck.