Telus Corp.'s chief corporate officer Josh Blair is leaving his executive role at the company, making him the second potential successor to CEO Darren Entwistle to depart this year.
Mr. Blair also oversees the telecom company’s health business, Telus Health and Payment Solutions, and co-heads the business solutions division. His exit, slated for the end of this year, follows that of David Fuller, who led the consumer telecom business before he left the company in January.
Both Mr. Blair and Mr. Fuller were identified by some company insiders as possible candidates for the top job, The Globe and Mail previously reported.
Mr. Entwistle told The Globe in 2018 that he planned to stay on for the next three to five years. He had left the chief executive position in 2014, passing the reins to Joe Natale, but stayed on as executive chair of the board. A little more than a year later, however, he returned to the role and Mr. Natale later became president and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc.
Since then, Mr. Entwistle has been looking to groom an internal successor, and has been giving senior leaders an opportunity to get a broader range of experiences, board members previously told The Globe.
Mr. Entwistle has identified two strong longer-term candidates for his position. One is Zainul Mawji, who took over some of Mr. Fuller’s responsibilities when he left, including overseeing residential services such as television and broadband internet. Ms. Mawji is also responsible for Telus’s small-business segment.
The other candidate named by Mr. Entwistle as a potential successor is Navin Arora, president of enterprise services in Western Canada.
A press release issued by Telus on Thursday said that Mr. Blair, who has worked at the company for 25 years, plans to take some time off before pursuing leadership opportunities at other companies or non-profit organizations. Telus did not say who will take over his role.
Jill Schnarr, vice-president of communications, said “all options are open” regarding the company’s succession plans.
“We have robust, multi-generational succession planning at Telus,” Ms. Schnarr said in an e-mail. “We grow talent with a focus on the near, medium and longer term, with incredible depth and terrific bench strength.”
Mr. Blair started his career at Telus in 1995 as an engineer-in-training and worked his way up to senior leadership roles, overseeing numerous areas of the business including human resources and technology and operations.
He will continue to serve as the chair of Telus International, the company’s global arm, and will also become chair emeritus of the health care IT division he currently heads.
“Josh’s journey at Telus has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Mr. Entwistle said in a statement, adding that Mr. Blair “has demonstrated remarkable vision, passion and leadership acumen, as well as an impressive ability to deliver differentiated results."
Mr. Blair said he is “deeply grateful” to Mr. Entwistle and that while he is looking forward to taking on new challenges, he is also excited to continue playing a role in Telus’s future.
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