|Alma mater||Bentley University (BS)|
|Occupation||Technology entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist|
|Board member of|
Raul Marcelo Claure is a Bolivian-American technology entrepreneur and businessman. Currently the chief executive officer (CEO) of SoftBank Group International and chief operating officer (COO) of SoftBank Group Corporation, he oversees SoftBank's operations and strategy along with CEO Masayoshi Son. As COO of SoftBank Group, a holding company, Claure oversees portfolio companies such as Boston Dynamics, Arm Holdings, Sprint, Fortress, Brightstar, SB Energy, and WeWork. He also heads the SoftBank Latin America Fund and the Tech Hub. The executive chairman of Sprint Corporation, Claure previously served as Sprint's CEO from 2014 until 2018. Credited with having "led a turnaround" at Sprint, he continues to oversee the company's planned merger with T-Mobile USA.
Prior to joining Sprint, Claure founded the wireless services company Brightstar in 1997, which ranked as the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States for six years. Brightstar had revenues of $10 billion when Claure sold it to Sprint in 2014. Claure is owner of the soccer team Club Bolivar and chairman and owner of Inter Miami, a Major League Soccer franchise. He was appointed the executive chairman of WeWork in October 2019. Among other board and committee roles, Claure is on the Presidential CEO Advisory Board at MIT. Involved in philanthropy, he founded One Laptop Per Child and the 1Million Project Foundation, both of which provide computer access to students.
Early life and education
Raúl Marcelo Claure was born in Guatemala on December 9, 1970. His father's career as a Bolivian diplomat, specifically working as a geologist for the diplomatic service of the United Nations, secured Claure's Bolivian citizenship. When he was two years old his family moved to Morocco, then to the Dominican Republic before returning home to La Paz, Bolivia, where Claure spent most of his childhood. He attended the Instituto Domingo Savio school and later transferred to the American Cooperative School in La Paz, graduating in 1989. Later that year, he left La Paz to attend what was then the University of Lowell, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He subsequently transferred to Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Sciences from Bentley University.
Claure returned to La Paz after graduating college and joined the Bolivian Football Federation as the head of business operations. In 1995, he returned to the United States and bought USA Wireless, a cellular retailer. He expanded the company before selling it one year later. In 1996, Claure became President of Small World Communications, a California-based communications and distribution company. He led the company for two years before relocating to Miami, Florida.
Claure founded Brightstar in Miami in October 1997, initially focusing the wireless distributor and service provider on Latin America. With Claure as CEO, the company opened offices throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2001, the company entered a distribution agreement with Motorola for all of Latin America, subsequently signing a global distribution agreement in 2007. With Claure retaining ownership, Brightstar was named the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Inc. Magazine identified Brightstar as the sixth fastest-growing company in the United States in 2009, and in 2013, Forbes ranked it the 55th largest privately held company in the United States.
SoftBank, a technology conglomerate based in Tokyo, Japan, purchased a majority stake in Brightstar in 2013 for $1.26 billion. Brightstar acquired 20:20 Mobile in February 2014, becoming the owner of additional facilities throughout Europe. Also, in April 2014, Brightstar acquired the Commerce & Services Division of SoftBank Group, making Brightstar the primary global distributor for the SoftBank Selection brand of mobile products. Brightstar by 2014 had a local presence in approximately 50 countries on six continents. When Claure sold the entirety of the company to Sprint in 2014, Brightstar had revenues of $10 billion.
Sprint CEO and chairman
Claure joined the Sprint Corporation board of directors in January 2014. On August 5, 2014, he was selected to replace Dan Hesse as the head of Sprint Corporation. The announcement was made on August 6, 2014, coinciding with Bolivia's independence day. Claure became Sprint's President and CEO on August 11, 2014. According to Bloomberg, as CEO Claure "led a turnaround" of the company, which had been losing $3.3 billion annually. Claure focused on financial cuts and increasing customers, and by 2015 the company's stock price was rising sharply. During Claure's tenure, Sprint went from losing customers to gaining over 2 million. In addition to achieving its best financial results in company history, the company was also net income positive for the first time in 11 years.
Joining the SoftBank Group board in June 2017, Claure was named executive chairman of Sprint Corporation on May 2, 2018. succeeded as Sprint CEO by Michel Combes, Claure assumed the chairmanship on May 31, 2018 – about one month after Sprint and T-Mobile announced plans to merge. In this role he became focused on achieving regulatory approval for the merger from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
On May 2, 2018, Claure was appointed the COO of SoftBank Group, also becoming CEO of both SoftBank Group International and SoftBank Latin America. Bloomberg described the promotions as a "reward for salvaging a sinking ship" at Sprint, with Claure continuing to oversee the plans to merge Sprint and T-Mobile. Alongside SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, Claure began overseeing the company's overall business strategy. As COO of SoftBank Group Corp, a holding company with a diverse portfolio, Claure was given oversight of operating companies such as Boston Dynamics, Arm Holdings, Sprint, Fortress, Brightstar SB Energy, and WeWork among others. As CEO of SoftBank Latin America, in March 2019 Claure also became CEO of the newly formed $5 billion SoftBank Latin America Fund, considered the largest technology fund focused exclusively on the Latin American market. Through SoftBank Latin America he also oversees the Tech Hub, which invests in the region.
In 2008, Claure created Bolivar Administración, Inversiones y Servicios Asociados, S.R.L. (BAISA), an ownership group which acquired Club Bolivar and the right to operate it for twenty years. The most popular soccer club in Bolivia, Club Bolivar is one of the top five winning teams in the history of the country.
In February 2014, Claure partnered with David Beckham and Simon Fuller in launching Miami Beckham United (MBU), which sought to establish a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami. With Claure as chairman of the board, in 2017 the venture was joined by Masayoshi Son, Jorge Mas and Jose Mas. On January 29, 2018, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced in a live broadcast that MBU had been awarded the 25th franchise in the league. The press conference at the Arsht Center had attendance of over 1,700, becoming "a carnival-like gathering in downtown Miami while confetti rained down and soccer enthusiasts chanted and cheered." The team name was revealed on September 5, 2018 as Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or Inter Miami CF. With the team slated to play in 2020, MBU at the time had proposed building a 25,000-seat stadium near Miami International Airport.
Boards and committees
On the board at SoftBank Group and executive chairman of Sprint, in 2018 Claure joined the board of Arm Limited, a semiconductor company. He became the chairman of both Fortress and Brightstar Global Group Inc. in 2019 and is also on the boards of Uber, Activate IT, the Bolivian-American Chamber of Commerce, Bentley University, and Florida International University. Claure was in the Aspen Institute's 2016 class of Henry Crown Fellows and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He is on the Presidential CEO Advisory Board at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a member of the Group of Fifty.
In 2008, Claure and Nicholas Negroponte founded One Laptop Per Child, an organization that provides rugged, low-cost laptops to impoverished grade-school students. By 2019, One Laptop Per Child had delivered 2.5 million computers to students in 60 countries. Claure in 2016 created the 1Million Project Foundation through the Sprint Corporation. The Foundation aims to provide free computer and internet access to a million disadvantaged students in the United States.
Awards and recognition
Claure has won a number of business awards. A World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader, he was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a lifetime member of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. He was named the Hispanic Businessman of the Year by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a "Forty Under Forty" Leader by Global Telecoms Business. Hispanic Business has named him Entrepreneur of the Year, PODER has named him its Top Hispanic Entrepreneur, and Hispanic also named him among its Top Hispanic Entrepreneurs. LISTA has named him CEO of the Year, while América Economía selected him for its Award of Excellence. Furthermore, he has been selected for the BN Americas Hall of Fame, and he is a CEO Council Member for the Wall Street Journal. In 2016, Claure appeared in the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Great Immigrants: The Pride of America initiative.
Claure resides in Miami, Florida. He has six children, including four daughters with his wife Jordan Engard, whom he married in 2005. He has a son and a daughter from a previous marriage. Claure is Catholic.
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