The chief financial officer of Rogers Communications Inc. is leaving the company as the Toronto-based telecom continues to seek regulatory approval of its planned takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.
Rogers announced late Wednesday that Tony Staffieri is exiting effective immediately after nearly a decade as CFO. The company did not provide a reason for his departure.
Paulina Molnar, senior vice-president of controller and risk management, has been appointed as interim CFO. Ms. Molnar has been with Rogers for 16 years, the company said in a statement.
Mr. Staffieri’s departure comes as Rogers is seeking regulatory approval of its deal to acquire Shaw for $26-billion including debt. The deal requires the approval from the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
The acquisition is expected to face intense regulatory scrutiny as it would reduce the number of wireless carriers from four to three in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Many analysts have predicted that Rogers will have to sell Shaw’s mobile business, Freedom Mobile, in order to get the green light from regulators.
Rogers said in a news release that the acquisition “continues to move forward as previously expected.” The company has said it expects the acquisition to close in the first half of 2022.
Ms. Molnar and Trevor English, Shaw’s chief financial and corporate development officer, are both candidates for the role, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Globe is not identifying the source because the person is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Rogers will release its financial results for the third quarter on Oct. 21. The telecom said Wednesday that the results will be in line with the outlook it provided when it released its second-quarter results on July 21. The company reported $3.58-billion in revenue for the three-month period ended June 30, up 14 per cent from a year ago, while its second-quarter profit grew 8 per cent to $302-million.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Aravinda Galappatthige said Rogers should finalize its CFO “in short order – potentially a couple of months or even several weeks.” The company has yet to catch up to its peers in terms of recovering from pandemic lows and its financial performance has been more volatile than expected, Mr. Galappatthige said in a note to clients.
“With the stock underperforming the group materially so far this year, we believe that there is a need for a strong CFO to provide clarity to the Street with respect to these variances and build confidence as we emerge from the pandemic conditions,” Mr. Galappatthige wrote.
Managing the company’s debt load and executing on $1-billion in expected synergies post-Shaw acquisition “would naturally require astute financial management,” he said.
“In addition to the CFO role, we believe that Rogers could have opportunities to further strengthen the management group, as key talent from Shaw comes in as well,” he added.
In a statement, Rogers president and CEO Joe Natale thanked Mr. Staffieri for his contributions to the company, “including ensuring the integrity of our financial reporting over the nearly ten years he served as our CFO.
“We wish him well in his future endeavours and look forward to building on the strong foundation he helped lay for us,” Mr. Natale added.
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