Rogers Communications Inc. RCI-B-T unveiled the team charged with combining two of the country’s largest telecom companies on Thursday by welcoming one senior executive from Shaw Communications Inc. and recruiting former federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains to its 12-person leadership group.
Rogers announced that former Shaw SJR-B-T chief operating and technology officer Zoran Stakic is taking the newly created role of chief transformation officer, based in Calgary. His primary responsibility will be integrating Canada’s two largest internet and cable networks after Rogers closed the $20-billion Shaw acquisition earlier this month.
Over the next two years, Rogers is targeting $1-billion in annual synergies from the takeover, including cutting costs by combining the two company’s back offices. Rogers also pledged it will create 3,000 new jobs in western Canada.
Two other members of Shaw’s eight-person leadership team, chief executive Brad Shaw and chief financial officer Trevor English, joined the Rogers board of directors earlier this month. Key Rogers executives, including the chief financial officer and heads of wireless, cable and human resources, kept their jobs in the shuffle.
“Over the past 16 months, our senior leadership team has led the turnaround of our performance, closed a historic merger with Shaw, and created strong momentum in the marketplace,” said Tony Staffieri, Rogers CEO.
Mr. Bains joined Rogers as chief corporate affairs officer, another new role, after spending the past 18 months as vice-chair of CIBC’s investment banking arm and more than five years as the federal minster responsible for the telecom sector. Mr. Bains’s new job includes overseeing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including Roger’s expansion of high-speed internet and 5G mobile service to rural and Indigenous communities.
To win federal government approval of the Shaw takeover, Rogers pledged it would spend a total of $6.5-billion expanding cellphone and internet services over the next five years, along with offering low-cost cellphone plans. The Toronto-based company faces up to $1-billion in penalties if it fails to deliver.
At CIBC, Mr. Bains focused on the innovation and sustainability sectors of the bank’s capital-markets business. Prior to that, he served as member of Parliament for Mississauga for nearly 17 years.
In 2019, as Industry Minister, Mr. Bains directed Canada’s telecom regulator to focus on competition, affordability and rural rollout, a policy shift that was generally applauded by consumer advocates. The following year, he expressed concerns that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s policy to lower wholesale rates, a move intended to improve competition, could undermine the incumbents’ incentives to invest in networks, leaning in favour of Rogers and the incumbents.
Mr. Stakic spent nearly 20 years at Shaw in various executive roles. Prior to that, he worked on strategy and technology for Sprint Canada, a joint venture between American telecom Sprint Corp., Rogers and two other Canadian companies. Rogers eventually took over the business in 2005. At Rogers, Mr. Stakic is reunited with former Shaw executive Ron McKenzie, now the company’s chief technology officer.
Rogers also named chief of brand and communications Terrie Tweddle to the executive team. She rejoined the company in October after taking a senior role at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for three years, and previously worked at Rogers for 12 years.
As part of Thursday’s creation of a new executive team, Rogers said chief legal officer Marisa Wyse assumed responsibility for regulatory affairs, while chief regulatory officer Ted Woodhead will leave the company at the end of the month.
Former chief administrative officer Mahes Wickramasinghe took on new responsibilities for business customers as Rogers’s chief commercial officer, another new position. Lisa Durocher, the head of Rogers’s financial services group, will leave the executive team and report to Mr. Wickramasinghe.
Shaw president Paul McAleese, who previously ran the company’s Freedom Mobile cellphone business, has departed. Shaw sold Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc. for $2.85-billion this month, a move that helped win federal approval of the deal by creating a fourth national cellphone company.