T-Mobile marketing chief to step down as carrier undergoes image makeover

Cole Brodman, CMO of T-Mobile, speaks at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle (Karen Ducey Photography)

T-Mobile marketing chief Cole Brodman is resigning from the company, a decision that comes as the country’s fourth largest wireless carrier looks to reinvent its image after AT&T’s $39 billion bid fell apart late last year. Brodman plans to leave at the end of this month, handing over duties, on an interim basis, to Andrew Sherrard.

Brodman spent 17 years at T-Mobile, the past two as chief marketing officer. It’s been a tough road for the Bellevue-based company. In addition to the failed merger, T-Mobile had to find creative ways to stay relevant as the only major carrier without the iPhone.

Brodman often took a direct path in his approach of touting T-Mobile’s Android devices, writing last September that Android has “evolved from geek to chic.”

“In many ways, Android is rivaling and even outpacing the iPhone, including consumer adoption, market share and capabilities like support for faster 4G networks,” Brodman wrote at the time.

He also stirred the pot in March at the GeekWire Summit when he suggested that the method in which carriers subsidize devices is hurting the industry.

“It actually distorts what devices actually cost and it causes OEMs, carriers — everybody to compete on different playing fields,” said Brodman at the time. “And I think it is really difficult, especially from a consumer perspective, because it causes consumers to devalue completely the hardware they are using.”

Here’s a statement from T-Mobile on Brodman’s departure:

After an impressive 17 year career at T-Mobile leading initiatives in Marketing, Product Development and Engineering/IT, Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman has decided to retire at the end of May. Cole helped introduce some of the most ground-breaking products and services in T-Mobile USA history, including the T-Mobile G1, the world’s first Android phone. He was also instrumental in establishing the company’s focus on delivering a great mobile experience to customers while providing industry-leading value. T-Mobile wishes the best to Cole and is pleased to note that he will continue his relationship with the company as a strategic advisor.

We’ve asked Brodman for comment, and we’ll update the post as we hear more. Update: In a follow-up email, Brodman tells GeekWire that the decision to leave T-Mobile was a personal one but he still plans to remain plugged in to the Seattle tech community.

“I plan to stay in Seattle – our home – and enjoy some time with family and to get a fresh perspective as I chart my next career move; but at this point, I don’t know what or exactly when that will be.

T-Mobile is on a strong path now, with a major reinvestment into the network, a strong portfolio of 4G devices (more on the way) and a new ad campaign that reflects a more aggressive, confident, and tech-forward challenger in wireless.  It’s certainly not slowing down – the pace of this industry never does – but it is as good a time as ever for me to step away as I feel we have some really good elements for the team to build on.”

Previously on GeekWire: No more pink dresses: T-Mobile tries on a tougher image

  • Guest

    “he suggested that the method in which carriers subsidize devices is hurting the industry.”

    His industry, yes. But Apple likes it just fine ;-)

  • Former T-Mobile Employee

    Go Andrew!

  • Business man

    I guess listening to your customer’s doesn’t mean anything. What about “Get the iPhone or I’m leaving after 13 years” do you not get? T-mobile hasn’t revolutionized anything. If they are moving in the direction of pre-paid and the cheapest monthly service, come out and say it. At least your customers will respect it and you aren’t dragging us through the mud with hopes. Yes, you will lose ALOT, but if that’s your angle, stick with it and stop the bullshit.