As Joe Natale prepares to update investors on his first quarter at Rogers Communications Inc., the new chief executive officer is searching for a replacement for one of his top lieutenants.
Dirk Woessner, president of Rogers's all-important consumer division – which encompasses its cable, Internet and wireless businesses – plans to leave the company at the end of November for a high-profile job back in his native Germany. As of January he will be CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG's German operation.
News of his departure comes just weeks after Mr. Natale restructured several operational roles at Rogers, eliminating the free-standing customer experience division and ultimately assigning responsibility for that key priority to Mr. Woessner.
The German executive was one of only a few executives recruited by former CEO Guy Laurence who remained with Rogers after the transition to Mr. Natale's leadership. Other top managers left months earlier, but many inside the company hoped the well-liked Mr. Woessner would remain with Rogers amidst a renewed effort to improve customer experience and reduce subscriber turnover.
"This is a great opportunity for Dirk to return home to Germany and take on an expanded role," Rogers spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt said Tuesday. "He has made tremendous contributions to Rogers and built a strong consumer team who know what they need to do to deliver results."
Toronto-based Rogers now begins a search for Mr. Woessner's replacement even as it fills another vacant role, naming Dean Prevost the head of its enterprise services division. Mr. Prevost, who was at one time president of MTS Allstream, will start Sept. 12.
"Dean is a great addition to our leadership team and a highly experienced telecom executive with a proven track record of delivering results in enterprise," Ms. Shmidt said. She noted that before he was president, Mr. Prevost ran MTS Allstream's enterprise division, which had $1.1-billion in revenue and served more than 45,000 customers.
Rogers parted ways with the previous leader of its enterprise division, former Cisco Systems Canada Co. head Nitin Kawale, in the spring.
The cable and media company reports its second-quarter financial results on Thursday and Mr. Natale will address investors on an earnings call for the first time. Analysts are hoping the company's momentum on wireless numbers from recent quarters will continue into this period and are looking for signs Mr. Natale can replicate the success he had with customer service in his previous life at Telus Corp., where he was a long-time executive and briefly CEO.
"While Mr. Natale has only been in his role [at Rogers] for about three months, we expect Q2 results to reflect some progress," said Barclays Capital analyst Phillip Huang. He noted the new CEO indicated he believes he can get Rogers's rate of contract wireless customer turnover – known as churn – to below 1 per cent, which is in the range that Telus has reported for several years.
Despite previous efforts to improve customer experience, churn at Rogers has remained higher, although it came in last quarter at just 1.10 per cent, down from 1.23 per cent for all of 2016.
Analysts on average predict Rogers added about 74,000 new contract wireless customers in the second quarter, according to seven estimates tracked by Bloomberg. Investors also project the company will report adjusted earnings of 93.7 cents per share on revenue of $3.586-billion.