Executive Rewind: My Critique of T-Mobile’s CEO

Lots of excellent feedback from you on your reaction to John LeGere, the T-Mobile CEO during a CNBC interview. The reactions were mixed, stretching across the spectrum.

Here’s my critique. First, some of you watched the video more than once. Most viewers, however, had just one shot to see it and get impressions. Second, he had audiences to consider. In this case, who watches an all-business news channel? Typically the investment community, from analysts to fund managers to individual investors. His business may be chasing Millennials, but, they probably aren’t watching CNBC.

So, when the viewing audience sees this…



…a guy in a hoodie, t-shirt and with long hair, talking about his earnings, frankly, there’s a clash, or even a contradiction, of messages. Also, consider this: TV monitors with business channels playing have the sound off in thousands of offices, especially brokerages, fund managers, and financial planners. When you can see just the picture, consider your assumptions.

For many, he simply was off-putting. He just doesn’t look like a CEO. That may be stereotyping, but it’s a reality executives should understand. He would’ve been okay for MTV, or VH1, but he didn’t consider, simply misread the audience, or, perhaps didn’t care.

In short, his appearance was a major distraction from his messages.

Some of you also mentioned his eye contact and body language. He’s clearly very animated. If that’s natural, I believe it’s fine. As for the his eye movement, part of it could’ve been due to the fact that he was being interviewed by a four member panel:


But, his eyes did wander too much, again distracting from his messages.

Knowing your audiences and who in that pool you need to reach is critical to every interview. Both in terms of your messaging and your physical appearance.

Here’s an example of an executive who’s business target is Millennials, but he understood that in talking to Bloomberg his audience consisted mainly of Boomers, Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers. So, he took the opportunity to inform the financial marketplace what drives 25-34 year olds when it comes to getting credit.

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