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President Chrite and Marcelo Claure '93 sitting in chairs talking
Photos by Jamie Wexler

Entrepreneur and investor Marcelo Claure ’93 joined President E. LaBrent Chrite for a wide-ranging armchair conversation on the future of business, the most disruptive technologies and the need for good business at the intersection of profitability and positive impact. The event kicked off a two-day celebration to mark the inauguration of Dr. Chrite, Bentley’s ninth president.  

Inauguration of Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite

More than 300 students, faculty, staff and alumni attended in person and online to watch the discussion between Chrite and Claure, who founded Brightstar, the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company, and also served as CEO of Sprint and CEO of SoftBank Group International. 

“You can be a citizen of good and you can do it for profitability; there’s nothing wrong with that,” Claure said, citing an effort he led at Sprint to improve Internet connectivity for students in need. That, in turn, boosted employee morale and helped turn the company around. “The beauty is where you can be an agent of good while still benefiting from being an agent of good. That to me has proven to be one of the most powerful forces.” 

You can be a citizen of good and you can do it for profitability; there’s nothing wrong with that.
Marcelo Claure ’93

Chrite said Bentley students learn how to use their business skills to solve problems in the world. “One thing that we do here at Bentley is to ensure that our students appreciate that with the privilege of attending a place like this, there is an obligation of the private sector and of capitalism.”  

Claure served on the Bentley board of trustees and received an honorary PhD in Commercial Science in 2004. In 2017, he won the Harry C. Bentley award for alumni achievement. Claure credited his time as an Economics and Finance major as an undergraduate student at Bentley, where he learned “to be a good businessperson, to have a plan and to have big dreams,” as formative to his business success. He discussed two big innovations that had fundamentally disrupted the business world in recent years: consumers’ shift to e-commerce and the transition from traditional print and web advertising to advertising on social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. These allowed the Internet to thrive and increased the transfer of information but failed to allow value to be transferred equitably. 

The pace of technological innovation is only going to increase in the coming years, Claure said, citing examples such as cryptocurrency, autonomous vehicles, travel to different planets and artificial intelligence.  

“The power of artificial intelligence is going to open a whole new field of opportunities,” said Claure, who is chairman and CEO of Claure Capital. “I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time to learn and a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur, because there are going to be so many exciting opportunities.” 

Marcelo Claure '93 standing next to Bentley President E. LaBrent Chrite
President Chrite and Marcelo Claure ’93

Claure founded Brightstar and built it into the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company, with operations in more than 50 countries and revenues exceeding $10 billion, making it the largest Hispanic-owned business in U.S. history. During his tenure as Sprint’s CEO, he led the company’s strategic turnaround, delivering the best financial results in its 120-year history. Under his leadership, Sprint announced a $195 billion merger with T-Mobile that was approved in 2020. 

In the conversation with Chrite, Claure shared three leadership principles that have guided his approach to business: Lead by example. Set yourself difficult goals and dream big. And embrace innovation. These are crucial to success in an ever-changing world, he said.  

“Nobody is irreplaceable, and no business is irreplaceable,” Claure said. “We can all be disrupted by the next entrepreneur who’s going to come. We always have a healthy paranoia that if we’re not continuously rediscovering ourselves and reinventing ourselves in everything that we do, in the fast pace of growth that we live today we can go from market leaders to nonexistent leaders in no time.” 

President Chrite’s conversation with Claure was held in Koumantzelis Auditorium. Before the event, Claure toured the Bentley campus, met with current students and spoke with faculty members about the role of higher education in shaping the business leaders of tomorrow. His visit and conversation with Chrite took place one day before Chrite’s official inauguration in the Bentley Arena. As the conversation began and attendees filed into the auditorium and joined online, Samantha Lovering ’23 introduced the two speakers.  

She said President Chrite “has committed himself to preparing students to successfully navigate the onramp to a global, connected and entrepreneurial economy. His focus has been on developing students’ adaptive capacities encompassing effective communications, self-reflection, narration and awareness. 

“As a student, I am excited for his vision for the future of Bentley University,” Lovering said.

Marcelo Claure '93 conversing with Bentley students

Claure meets with students in Koumantzelis Auditorium

Watch the full conversation