John Garcia, 53, currently senior VP-product development and management and a 13-year Sprint veteran, was named acting CMO.
Mr. Kelly last year oversaw the hiring of Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as agency for the carrier's $1.2 billion ad account as well as the launch of the telecom's "Sprint Ahead" ad campaign. Before his seven years at Sprint, Mr. Kelly worked in branding, advertising, marketing and business development for ad agency Partners & Shevack and marketer Lever Bros.
Mr. Kelly, 49, said he was proud of the movement Sprint has made toward regaining its traction, and particularly the hiring of Goodby, which this week was named as Advertising Age's agency of the year, as well as the Sprint Speed campaign and the upcoming rebranding of Nascar's Nextel Cup as the Sprint Cup. "I am really excited about the future," he said.
Last week, Sprint reported a fourth-quarter loss of 683,000 postpaid customers, those billed monthly for service and who are considered the industry's most valued. Overall, Sprint's customer base was 53.8 million at the end of 2007, up only 700,000 from 2006.
Meanwhile, competitors, such as Verizon and AT&T continue to experience strong subscriber growth. AT&T today reported that at the end of last year it had more 70.1 million subscribers and added a record 2.7 million over the holiday period.