Immigrant Profile: Marcelo Claure


Marcelo Claure was born on December 9, 1970, in La Paz, Bolivia (though some sources say Guatemala). His father was a Bolivian diplomat, and the family spent a number of years traveling along with his father’s assignments, including two years in Guatemala, followed by moves to Morocco and the Dominican Republic, before returning to Bolivia. Claure enrolled in the American Cooperative School in La Paz, from which he graduated in 1989.

Immigration to the United States

For university, Claure moved to the United States, where he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He later transferred to Bentley College in nearby Waltham and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance in 1993. Later, Bentley College granted him an honorary doctorate in commercial science.

Professional Background & Achievements

Once Claure finished his studies in the United States, he returned to Bolivia to manage the international marketing program of the Bolivian Football Federation. Soon, in 1995, he bought USA Wireless and came back to the United States. Claure worked to expand the company and create growth before selling it a year later, after which he became president of Small World Communications, a California communications company, which he managed for two years. In 1997, he moved to Florida to found Brightstar Corporation, with a focus on providing wireless phone service to Latin America. Soon Brightstar had outlets all over the Caribbean and Latin America, and in 2001 joined with Motorola as its exclusive provider for Latin America. Brightstar was named the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States six times between 2007 and 2013 (with 2010 the only exception). In 2009, Inc. magazine named Brightstar the sixth-fastest-growing company in the United States, and in 2013 Forbes magazine named it the 55th-largest private company in the U.S. By 2014, Brightstar had yearly revenues of $10 billion and a business presence in 50 countries around the world. That year, Claure sold the company to Sprint and became a member of Sprint’s board; in August 2014, Claure became the chairman of Sprint., which at the time was in dire financial straits, losing an average of $3.3 billion per year. Within a year of Claure’s taking the reins at Sprint, the company had achieved its best financial results in its history–including its first gains in 11 years. In 2018, he was named the executive chairman of the Sprint Corporation. As of 2021, he is the CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group Corporation, both closely allied with Sprint. In a recent major achievement, he  oversaw the 2020 merger between Sprint and T-Mobile USA.

Claure has gained national recognition and won a number of rewards for his contributions to business. He has been named the Entrepreneur of the Year in a number of periodicals, including USA Today. He was also named the CEO of the year by LISTA (the Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association) and was given the Young Global Leader award by the World Economic Forum.

Contributions to the U.S. Economy

Claure made a number of contributions to the U.S. economy through his business ventures and also helped the academic world. He serves on the board of Florida International University, the advisory council of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the advisory board of MIT. As a philanthropist, he has co-founded One Laptop Per Child, which provides laptops to impoverished children. Between its inception in 2008 and 2019, One Laptop Per Child has provided 2.5 million laptops to children around the world.

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