Cingular Wireless

became the latest carrier to ditch its chief executive Wednesday, following grim quarterly earnings results.

The nation's second-largest wireless carrier, which is co-owned by

SBC Communications

(SBC)

and

BellSouth

(BLS)

, named Stan Sigman, chief operating officer of SBC, as its new CEO. Sigman replaces Stephen Carter, who will move to a senior executive position at SBC, the company said.

The move comes on the heels of a similar shuffle at

Sprint PCS

in late September, when parent company

Sprint

(FON)

replaced the unit's CEO Charles Levine. Less than two weeks before that,

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

announced the sudden departure of its chief operating officer, James Mooney.

"Stan Sigman is a nationally recognized leader in the U.S. wireless industry, and I'm excited about the valuable insight and proven operational experience he will bring to Cingular," said BellSouth CEO Duane Ackerman in a statement. "I appreciate Stephen Carter's strong leadership and many accomplishments in launching Cingular, and now I'm looking forward to Stan harnessing the power of the brand to strengthen Cingular's leadership position and growth profile."

The company didn't provide any other details on Carter's move from the top spot. Cingular spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock said it was a mutual decision made by Carter and Cingular's board of directors.

Cingular has been under pressure in recent weeks to come up with a turnaround strategy, after it reported a net loss in subscribers for the first time in its history at the end of the third quarter. Likewise, Sprint PCS also reported a third-quarter net loss in subscribers.

A source close to Cingular said Carter's talents lie primarily in running start-up operations, a quality that made the 49-year-old executive ill equipped to guide the maturing carrier through choppy economic waters. Declining customer growth and an ensuing

price war have dragged down the formerly highflying wireless industry.

Sigman, 54 years old, was the president of Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems, a division of SBC, in 1995. In 1999, he became SBC's group president responsible for the company's domestic wireless operations. He was the chairman of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association in 1998. Sigman will lose a seat on Cingular's board of directors due to his new role. A company spokeswoman said a replacement hasn't been named.