Today marks the first day for Guy Laurence who was named the next CEO of Rogers Communications. Guy comes to Rogers from Vodafone where he was CEO since 2008. The move confirms one of the biggest things that many knew, Rogers would not be able to find a suitable candidate within the Canadian borders.
A brief look at Guy Laurence’s past
Born in Manchester, he opted for a candle-making business instead on the corporate world after graduating from university. He took his career to the entertainment world at Chrysalis, a music publishing company and then joining MGM where he helped to marketing films such as the James Bond series. A number of additional marketing type roles were the focus of the next few years of his career and in 2000 he became Chief Marketing Officer at Vodafone, and lead him to being promoted to CEO in 2008. In his first two year at Vodafone he cut 20 percent of the staff, slashed the company’s costs by $1 billion and also revamped their distribution network.
When you are number one, there is only one place to go
Rogers is the largest wireless carrier in Canada, competition from Bell and TELUS is pretty stiff as they continue to launch new plans in hopes of keeping existing customers happy, while pouring millions into innovation to attract new revenues. At the same time Rogers fights competition with its left hand, it uses the right hand to fight off the new wireless players that have entered Canada over the last five years who have been slowing chipping away at Rogers base of wireless customers. The numbers still show that Rogers is still the dominant wireless players, but this is a fight that Guy will have to roll up his sleeves and take part in.
Rogers new 12-year, $5.2 billion NHL broadcast and digital right deal that was announced last week is also something Guy will be quite involved with. Throughout the negotiation process he was also kept aware of its progress. However, this is does have several moving parts that even leaves some Rogers executives wondering how it will all be fleshed out, and more importantly if the media company will be able to fully maximize the revenue potential of the multi-billion dollar deal.
Rogers 3.0 and Guy Laurence
Today is an important historical day for Rogers and with Guy at the helm he is now the third CEO behind Nadir Mohamed (who exits in January), and Ted Rogers (who founded the company). Guy represents new blood and new thinking for Rogers. Guy is often written about as “unconventional” who once had all cleaning staff remove all signs of paper from employees desks and is known for his “clean desk” policy. He has also been known have his staff dress in all black as part of team building exercises. This will also be the first time that Rogers is being run by a “true employee” or someone who has never had any ties to Rogers which was founded by Ted Rogers who passed away fives years ago. With the family still having strong ties to the organization and significant board presence it will be interesting to see how things play out in the new year. Don’t expect this guy to sit around and drink tea and crumpets, he here to lead Rogers to a new era.