Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) is poised to part ways with another executive as the telecom giant continues its management overhaul ahead of the arrival of new CEO Joe Natale in July.
Frank Boulben, who currently serves as the company’s chief strategy officer, is expected to leave Rogers at the end of this month, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Boulben’s departure is said to be by mutual decision, according to the sources.
Rogers confirmed the departure in an emailed statement to BNN. “Frank Boulben has decided to return to New York. We have a strong plan and an experienced management team to continue to execute our plan and build our momentum to deliver our company priorities.”
Last month, Jacob Glick left Rogers after serving as the chief corporate affairs officer since 2014. Like Glick, Boulben was an outsider hired by former Rogers CEO Guy Laurence in 2014 as part of an effort to shake up the company’s corporate culture. Laurence was ousted in October.
Boulben previously worked as BlackBerry’s chief marketing officer, where he oversaw the launch campaign for BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 handset. That included a pricey Super Bowl ad, which The Wall Street Journal described as “a bit of a flop.” Boulben left BlackBerry (BB.TO) after a year and half as part of a management shakeup.
“It’s not a surprise to see a key strategy executive leaving if the CEO who hired him is no longer with the company,” one veteran Bay Street telecom analyst told BNN in a phone interview. The analyst declined to be cited by name, saying he did not have approval from his brokerage’s compliance department.
(Video Courtesy Besnik Selimi by YouTube.com)
BNN has learned Natale’s official start date is expected to be July 4, following the Canada Day long weekend. The former Telus CEO will join Rogers after the expiration of a non-compete agreement he signed when he left Telus in 2015. Rogers previously stated only that Natale would begin in July. A Rogers spokesperson declined to confirm Natale’s start date.
In recent months, interim CEO Alan Horn has been taking steps to simplify Rogers’ reporting structure. Under Laurence, a significant number of executives reported directly to the chief executive’s office.
“These may be signals that some people were not seen by the board of directors as being part of the organization long-term,” telecom consultant Mark Goldberg of Mark H. Goldberg and Associates told BNN in a phone interview. “So Alan Horn is making those shifts now to give Joe Natale a bit more of a clean slate to work with.”
Of the top 12 executives currently at Rogers, at least half were outsiders hired during Laurence’s tenure. Along with Boulben, those leaders include Nitin Kawale (formerly of Cisco), Deepak Khandelwal (formerly of Google), and Dirk Woessner (formerly of Deutsche Telekom).
As BNN previously reported, members of the Rogers family - in particular Edward and sister Melinda - took a back seat during Laurence’s tenure. While initially on board with Laurence's strategy, his treatment of the two was "disrespectful," according to a source familiar with the matter.
“Guy Laurence led a significant shift from the Ted Rogers era, which had largely continued under previous CEO Nadir Mohamed,” Goldberg told BNN. “While the company needed change, it’s not necessarily something that can continue for a long time. You introduce chaos and once there’s been a shake up, you embark on a fresh plan.”