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Cingular Wireless replaces CEO

The wireless company names a new chief executive two weeks after reporting a loss of more than 100,000 subscribers.

Cingular Wireless, the second-largest wireless carrier in the country, has replaced its chief executive, two weeks after announcing a drop in subscribers.

In a statement issued this week, the company said that Stan Sigman would become president and CEO, replacing former chief Stephen Carter. Sigman earlier served as group president and chief operating officer for SBC Communications and was a member of Cingular's board. Cingular is a joint venture of SBC and BellSouth.

Carter is being moved to SBC, where he will serve as a vice president, reporting to Ed Whitacre, SBC's chief executive.

Last month, Cingular reported that it had lost 107,000 wireless subscribers during the third quarter of 2002 because of WorldCom's bankruptcy. WorldCom resells Cingular's services.

Analysts had expected the bankruptcy to take a toll on Cingular's business, but they were anticipating a drop in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 subscribers.

Other wireless carriers, including Sprint PCS, reported dips in subscriber numbers. Sprint also replaced its CEO shortly after announcing the drop. And at least a few analysts thought that there were more problems at Cingular than just WorldCom's financial status.

"Cingular's recent performance highlights in part its strategic needs with regard to (its coverage area) and technology--and, perhaps, could increase the pressure to act," Merrill Lynch analyst Linda Mutschler wrote in a research note.