Guy Laurence Out as Rogers CEO
Ex-Telus CEO Joe Natale to take over
CBJ — Less than three years after taking the job amidst immense publicity and fanfare, Guy Laurence has stepped down as CEO of Rogers Communications, effective immediately.
Laurence came to Canada from the United Kingdom where he had been leader of Vodafone, taking over for previous Rogers’ CEO Nadir Mohamed, who retired in 2013.
Laurence’s replacement will be former Telus CEO Joe Natale, who led the Vancouver-based company during a period when it made customer gains against Rogers in the important mobile communications market.
“We have appreciated Guy’s leadership over the last three years,” said Edward Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., a company founded by his father Ted.
Rogers Communications has not yet given a reason for Laurence’s hasty departure. However, the announcement did come just prior to the company’s latest financial results being released, which showed third-quarter profit was down about 50% compared with the same time last year, despite a slight increase in revenue. In other words, the company was spending a lot more with the expansion of various programming and other initiatives but was not reaping the same increased level of returns.
Under Laurence’s command, Rogers finalized a groundbreaking 12-year rights deal with the National Hockey League valued at $5.2 billion and underwent a number of management changes that were intended to make the company more nimble. Many have surmised that Rogers has quite likely lost millions on that hockey broadcast deal in the first two years out of the gate.
Rogers has also had to navigate through choppy waters in the media industry as a result of an ongoing shift towards digital publication and regulatory changes and competitive challenges that are pressuring the Rogers cable, broadcasting and publishing arms. Just recently it was announced several of Rogers’ well-known magazines will no longer be printed as of January, with others such as Maclean’s moving from weekly to monthly print runs as more advertisers move away from traditional media platforms to online.