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T-Mobile CEO John Legere to step down on May 1

COO Mike Sievert is taking over as the carrier continues to look toward closing its merger with Sprint.

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere, right, plans to hand the reins to COO Mike Sievert, left, on May 1.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As the effort to merge with Sprint drags on, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has announced that he will step down from his role on May 1. Taking to Twitter on Monday morning, the outspoken executive confirmed longstanding speculation that he would leave the post and that President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert would take his place as CEO. 

Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray has also been promoted to president of technology as part of the executive reshuffling. 

"I hired Mike in 2012 and I have great confidence in him. I have mentored him as he took on increasingly broad responsibilities, and he is absolutely the right choice as T-Mobile's next CEO," Legere said in a statement. 

"Mike is well prepared to lead T-Mobile into the future. He has a deep understanding of where T-Mobile has been and where it needs to go to remain the most innovative company in the industry. I am extremely proud of the culture and enthusiasm we have built around challenging the status quo and our ongoing commitment to putting customers first." 

Sievert promised to carry on Legere's efforts. 

"The Un-carrier culture, which all our employees live every day, will not change," Sievert said in a statement. "T-Mobile is not just about one individual. Our company is built around an extraordinarily capable management team and thousands of talented, committed, and customer-obsessed employees." 

The announcement comes as T-Mobile is working to close its pending Sprint merger, which Legere recently said he expects to happen in "early 2020."

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The deal already received the blessing of the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. But it has encountered resistance from a number of state attorneys general, who argue that allowing T-Mobile to merge with Sprint will lead to higher prices for consumers and to lost jobs as the number of nationwide wireless carriers shrinks from four to three. 

In a bid to lower fears of the merger hampering competition, the DOJ brokered a deal between T-Mobile and Dish that would have the satellite TV provider acquire Sprint's prepaid brand Boost Mobile and be able to use T-Mobile and Sprint's combined network for seven years while it builds out its own 5G mobile network. 

In a webcast led by Sievert and Legere, T-Mobile recently unveiled a host of initiatives designed to garner support from legislators. Dubbed "New T-Mobile Un-carrier 1.0," the company would offer free service for first responders for 10 years, free home broadband for low-income households and a $15 5G plan if the Sprint deal is allowed to go through. 

In a conference call with analysts and reporters, Legere said that he feels "quite good that we have the basis" to reach a deal and is confident that the company would be successful against the attorneys general should the case go to trial. 

Legere will remain on T-Mobile's board, and he said he is "not retiring." One thing he won't be doing, however, is taking over WeWork, which he said would not be happening despite rumors last week.