New chapter: Brightstar names next CEO, succeeding Marcelo Claure

Jaymin B. Patel becomes president and CEO of Brightstar Corp.
Jaymin B. Patel becomes president and CEO of Brightstar Corp.

After a six-month global search, Miami’s Brightstar Corp. announced Thursday who will succeed Marcelo Claure as its chief executive officer.

Jaymin B. Patel, most recently a top executive at global gaming company GTECH, will lead Brightstar as president and CEO, becoming the second CEO in the global wireless distribution company’s 17-year history as he succeeds Claure. The Brightstar founder accepted the top job of Sprint Corp. last summer.

Patel, 47, comes to Brightstar from the largest lottery and gaming company in the regulated gaming industry, providing technology and services to customers in 100 countries. He most recently was president and CEO of GTECH Americas, overseeing operations in North America and Latin America, and was based in Providence, Rhode Island. While at GTECH, Patel also served as chief financial officer of GTECH Holdings Corp., and chief operating officer and president and CEO of GTECH’s global lottery, interactive and gaming businesses.

“The wireless industry is a very exciting place to be. It represents the future ... and being at the center of the wireless ecosystem was very appealing,” said Patel, who will be house-hunting and transitioning into the position over the next six weeks. In a phone interview Thursday, he said that as he researched the Brightstar position more and more, the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial team and culture Claure built also was a key attractor. “I felt a strong what I call customer-first philosphy at Brightstar,” said Patel.

Claure founded Brightstar in 1997 as a distributor for cellphones throughout Latin America for Motorola and others. The company then expanded globally and added services such as wireless-device insurance plans and financing options for consumers. Today, Brightstar has nearly 9,000 employees and operates in more than 100 countries. With $10.6 billion in gross revenue in 2013, a company record, the company was also the 55th largest privately held U.S. company in that year, according to Forbes. Brightstar has about 500 employees in its corporate headquarters.

Patel’s 26 years of global experience establishing and operating businesses and leading more than a dozen merger and acquisition transactions attracted the attention of Brightstar’s board. Since mid-2013, Brightstar has completed four strategic acquisitions spanning Asia, Europe and North America. Brightstar said its device distribution services continue to be the world’s largest with operations in more than 100 countries, and it is also one of the largest distributors of mobile device accessories.

“When you look beyond the gaming title, there are a number of parallels,” Patel said about his experience. For instance, Brightstar is a very large distributor of wireless phones, while GTECH is a huge distributor of lottery tickets. Patel, who will be joining the Brightstar team at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona early next month, also cited his experience with platform technology and data communications networks gained through the gaming industry.

Patel, who was raised and educated in the United Kingdom and began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, will transition to his new role by March 30 and join the board of directors. Arturo Osorio, who led Brightstar in the interim as president and chief operating officer following the departure of Claure in August, has stepped down from the board.

“Jaymin’s operational leadership, financial expertise and experience negotiating and closing highly complex, multi-year deals makes him the ideal person to lead Brightstar at the center of the wireless ecosystem,” said Ronald Fisher, chairman of the board for Brightstar.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.