Rogers CEO Guy Laurence Out As Telecom's Profits Tank

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TORONTO — Rogers Communications says Guy Laurence has stepped down as president and CEO, effective immediately.

The early morning announcement comes less than three years after Laurence was brought in to restore the Toronto-based telecom and media giant following a period of lacklustre growth.

It also came minutes before Rogers announced its latest financial report, which showed the company's third-quarter profit was about 50 per cent lower than during the same time last year despite a slight increase in revenue.

guy laurence
Rogers President and CEO Guy Laurence speaks at the company's AGM in Toronto on Tuesday April 21 , 2015. Rogers Communications says Guy Laurence has stepped down as president and CEO, effective immediately. (Photo: Canadian Press/Chris Young)

Rogers says its net income for the quarter was $220 million or 43 cents per share, down from $464 million or 90 cents per share — mainly because of the previously announced shut-down of the Shomi television service.

On the other hand, Rogers said that its wireless operation had its biggest revenue growth and post-paid customer additions since 2010 with 114,000 net additions.

"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.

joe natale
Joe Natale, then president and chief executive officer of Telus Corp., laughs while talking with a board member before the telecom company's annual general meeting in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday May 8, 2014. Natale has been appointed the new CEO of Rogers. (Photo: Canadian Press/Darryl Dick)

Under Laurence's leadership, Rogers finalized a ground-breaking 12-year rights deal with the National Hockey League and underwent a number of management changes that were intended to make the company more nimble.

It has also navigated difficult conditions for the media industry, as a result of an ongoing shift to digital forms for publication and regulatory changes and competitive challenges that are pressuring the Rogers cable, broadcasting and publishing arms.

Laurence's replacement will be former Telus chief executive Joe Natale, who led the Vancouver-based company during a period when it made customer gains against Rogers in the important mobile communications market.

Until Natale is on board at Rogers, the CEO's position will be filled on an interim basis by Rogers chairman Alan Horn.

"Following the transition, the board will look to Joe to take the company forward and continue the momentum we've established in the past couple of years,'' Horn said in a statement.

"His focus on the customer experience and demonstrated expertise delivering operational success makes him well suited to lead Rogers through the challenges and opportunities ahead.''

"During the transition, it's business as usual,'' Horn said.

The release of the third-quarter results on Monday, however, was three days ahead of schedule. They had been expected before markets open on Thursday.

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