By David Benoit
Facing noise from Washington and Englewood, Colo. about whether its sale to Japan’s SoftBank Corp. (9984.TO +9.52%) would raise national-security issues Sprint Nextel (S -0.62%) has gone about as high as it could in the national-security system for a board member to assuage those fears.
The telecommunications company announced today that retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a well-respected voice on national security, will join the board of Sprint after the SoftBank deal closes. Mullen, 66, will take the position to oversee compliance with the agreement the companies reached with the government for “all security-related matters.”
As part of the deal, the new Sprint will have a four-member national-security committee, including a security director who will sit on the wireless carrier’s board, WSJ had reported. Members of the committee would be approved by the government, WSJ said.
Sprint’s deal has run into some political opposition over whether or not it was inviting in Chinese suppliers that could raise concerns for some U.S. government agencies. SoftBank had a relationship with China’s Huawei, a company that the U.S. has blasted, but SoftBank has pledged to remove any equipment from its network.