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Walter Berger Out as Leap CFO

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 7:12am
Maisie Ramsay

Leap Wireless International finance chief Walter Berger is leaving the company to take an unspecified tech job.

"(Berger) will be leaving for another employment opportunity in the technology sector shortly following the filing of Leap's annual report," Leap announced Thursday afternoon.

The 10-K is expected to be handed to the SEC by Feb. 29, two weeks after the release of Leap's fourth-quarter results.

Leap has not announced Berger's successor.

Berger has served as Leap's CFO since June 2008. He joined the Cricket Communications parent after a two-year stint at CBS Corporation.

President and CEO Doug Hutcheson said Berger had played an "important role" in the company's push to improve its operating and financial performance, including its successful Muve Music service and its distribution deals with national retailers.

Six months after Berger took the reins in 2008, Leap posted a full-year net loss of $150.2 million on sales of $2.03 billion. The company's losses ballooned to $871.9 million in 2010 on goodwill impairments and write offs from its network expansion.

Full results for 2011 aren't in yet, but numbers reported so far show Leap lost a total of $230 million during the first nine months of the year on sales of $2.3 billion. The company plans to announce its financial results for the final three months of last year on Feb. 16.

Despite its ongoing losses, Leap has had some success setting itself apart in the highly competitive prepaid space. It announced earlier this month that more than 500,000 customers had signed up for its Muve Music service less than a year after its launch. The monthly prepaid plan ranges from $55 to $65 and includes unlimited downloads of songs and ringtones.

Leap said on Jan. 4 that it added about 175,000 customers during the fourth quarter, with churn coming in at between 3.7 percent and 3.9 percent. Rival MetroPCS added 197,000 new customers during the same period.

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