Rogers Communications Deputy Chairman Edward Rogers is making his presence felt at the company bearing his family name, after the ousting of Guy Laurence.

Rogers, son of the late media mogul Ted Rogers, is said to be more actively involved at the company, following last Monday’s surprise announcement that Laurence would be replaced as CEO by former Telus boss Joe Natale.

Natale can only join Rogers after the expiration of a non-compete agreement he signed with Telus as part of his departure in 2015. “It is our understanding that his non-compete lasts until July 2017,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Aravinda Galappatthige said in a recent research note. In the meantime, Chairman Alan Horn is serving as interim CEO.

“You can’t have a company of Rogers’ size moving forward in a competitive marketplace without existing leadership filling the void,” management expert Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University, told BNN in an interview. "You’re not just going to keep the chair warm for that length of time."

Under Laurence's leadership, members of the Rogers family - in particular, Edward and sister Melinda - took a back seat. While initially on board with Laurence's strategy, his treatment of the two was "disrespectful," according to a source familiar with the matter. “This is more about the relationship between Guy Laurence and his board,” telecom industry consultant Iain Grant of Seaboard Group told BNN in a recent interview.

Company spokesperson Terrie Tweddle did not respond to a request for comment on Edward Rogers' role during the transition.


Laurence was caught off guard when Rogers' board of directors delivered the news to him on the Sunday before the company’s announcement, according to a person familiar with the discussions. In a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto last month, the British-born executive spoke about settling into life in Canada: “I’ve actually lived here nearly three years, bought a house, my wife is doing a Masters at the University of Toronto, and I’ve even gotten used to raccoons living in my backyard.”

If anything, Laurence, who previously served as CEO of Vodafone Group Plc’s U.K. division, expected to be rewarded with a new contract, according to one source. When he learned Rogers’ board was moving in another direction, his reaction was said to be far from diplomatic. “Laurence has a bit of a brash style,” money manager John Stephenson of Stephenson & Company told BNN in a recent television interview.

Laurence couldn’t be reached for comment.

Some analysts were taken aback by the move, given Rogers’ financial performance, which included a nearly 50 per cent increase in its third-quarter wireless contract customers. “There was a growing perception that Rogers was getting back on track, as evidenced by the strength in its stock price both this year and the second half of last year,” according to Galappatthige.

"Part of the problem working with a family-controlled firm is that if you get between family members, you often pay the price," said McGill’s Moore. ”Blood is thicker than water.”


In Natale, interim CEO Horn spoke of a proven performer, citing Natale’s track record of keeping customers happy at Telus. Speaking with analysts last Monday, Horn discussed Rogers’ desire to have the “absolutely best management possible.”

“We believe Mr. Natale is also a very capable operator and commands a high level of credibility in his role to lead Rogers going forward,” Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi said in recent a note to clients.

While Edward Rogers is said to have played an integral role in bringing Natale on-board as the new CEO, Natale’s exact arrival date at Rogers remains unclear.

”I think sometimes transitions work, sometimes they don’t,” Horn said on last week’s conference call. “I think in this case...this was the way this transition had to take place."

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