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Guy Laurence out as Rogers CEO, ex-Telus head Joe Natale to replace him eventually

Rogers CEO Change 20161117

Guy Laurence has abruptly resigned as CEO of Rogers. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

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

He will eventually be replaced by former Telus CEO Joe Natale, who resigned from the Rogers rival last summer in part because of a reluctance to move his family from Vancouver, where Telus is based, to Toronto, which happens to be where Rogers is headquartered.

But Natale can’t come on board just yet, as he is still bound by the terms of the non-compete clause he signed with Telus when he left. It pledges that he is not allowed to work for a rival for an undisclosed period of time.

Until Natale can come on board, Rogers veteran Alan Horn will act as interim CEO of Rogers.

Laurence came to Rogers in 2013 from British wireless firm Vodafone, where he developed a reputation as a fierce competitor.

“We have appreciated Guy’s leadership over the last three years,” said Edward Rogers, Rogers deputy chairman and eldest son of company founder Ted Rogers, who died in 2008. “He has moved the company forward … while getting the company ready for its next phase of growth.

On behalf of the Rogers family and the board, I’d like to thank Guy for his competitive spirit and many contributions,” Rogers said.

The move comes at an uncertain time for Rogers, as the wireless and media conglomerate is seeing its business model change on many fronts. Rogers recently announced the end of its Shomi streaming video service, and earlier this month drastically cut back the publishing schedule for many of its magazines, including Macleans and Chatelaine.

Rogers is also entering the third year of an expensive deal with the NHL for rights to broadcast hockey games, an expensive pact that has thus far yet to bear much fruit.

The news was also announced minutes before Rogers released quarterly results, which showed that its second-quarter profit fell nearly in half, to $220 million or 43 cents per share, down from $464 million or 90 cents per share. The wireless unit, however, its biggest revenue growth and post-paid customer additions since 2010 with 114,000 net additions.