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Joe Natale will assume the position of Rogers CEO after a non-compete agreement with Telus Corp. expires or is renegotiated.Gloria Nieto/The Globe and Mail

Dear Joe Natale,

As someone who welcomes the 'To Do' list of household tasks my wife occasionally leaves on the kitchen table, I appreciate how helpful it is to be given a road-map to happiness.

In that spirit, here is a list for you, sir, the future CEO of Rogers Communications, perhaps very soon, perhaps next summer – no one is quite sure yet. We know you must wait until a non-compete agreement with Telus Corp. expires or is renegotiated before you can start the job. But it's never too early set priorities.

Job one is to win and maintain the trust of the Rogers family.

Job No. 2 is to never, ever forget job No. 1.

Your predecessor made this mistake. Guy Laurence is now booking flights out of town, less than three years after he arrived. This may be a $28-billion company with 26,000 employees, but it is controlled by a family determined to honour the legacy of founder Ted Rogers.

It may be futile for children to seek approval from a father who passed away eight years ago. But that doesn't stop them from trying.

You may want to ensure that any Rogers offspring who want roles at the company have something to keep them busy. Edward Rogers seems at peace with his current role as deputy chairman, overseeing strategy and major deals and maintaining a deep involvement in some ventures, including the Toronto Blue Jays. Melinda Rogers, however, was stiff-armed by Mr. Laurence, losing her post as senior vice-president of strategy and development. She's passionate about finding new and innovative technologies for the company to use. Perhaps it's time to revive the company's venture capital arm?

That brings us to item no. 3: Delivering an early win for all shareholders, including the family. For instance, consider pushing a sale of Rogers' $1-billion stake in Cogeco. The Audet family clearly isn't selling Cogeco, which makes this investment dead money. The cash can be used to restart dividend increases and buy back shares. Analysts at Scotia Capital estimated this simple move would add $2 or more to Rogers' share price.

Item no. 4 on our little list: Remember what made you successful at Telus, and repeat. Telus enjoys fierce customer loyalty by relentlessly focusing on service. That's why its churn -- the rate at which is loses postpaid wireless customers -- is less than 1 per cent a month. Mr. Laurence made improving Rogers' service culture a priority, but you know there is much more to be done. (Its latest churn rate is 1.26 per cent.) Which bring us to your team...

Priority no. 5: Remember who made you successful at Telus, and recruit with that in mind. The guy who dumped you at Telus so he could take back the top job -- Darren somebody, right? -- must already be spinning at the prospect of competing with both you and George Cope, two of his former deputies. Poaching a few of Telus's top performers can only add to the fun.

The Rogers management team was handpicked by Mr. Laurence over the past few years. Few have deep roots in the company. While some members of Rogers' management are going to be keepers, any new CEO has the right to be ruthless in picking a team that can execute on his vision. And speaking of vision...

The sixth item on your to-do list: Remain true to your contrarian view of the future of telecom. Telus was the one major telecom company that avoided investing heavily in the ownership of media assets. Over the past decade, rivals snapped up TV networks, radio stations, sports teams and league broadcast rights. Telus invested in its wireless and high speed Internet networks. It worked.

Rogers now owns a media and sports portfolio that makes little impact on the company's bottom line. The best of the bunch are low-maintenance and generate consistent cash. And the radio stations are touchstone investments for the Rogers family. Recall Job #1. Don't mess with those.

There's a case for hanging on to cash-spinning media assets, in the short term. But eventually, surgery will be needed. Cablevision Systems, a major U.S. cable company, spun out Madison Square Garden Co. as the owner of real estate and New York's Knicks and Rangers in 2010 and shareholders embraced the move. Again, Scotia Capital ran the numbers and estimated a similar spinout at Rogers would goose the stock by more than $4 a share. There's probably a way to do it while still allowing the family to maintain control of the assets to which it feels a strong emotional attachment.

And don't be afraid to be truly radical. Ted Rogers somehow managed to acquire the Rogers Centre, the solid concrete nest for the Blue Jays, for $25 million. The site is now surrounded by condo towers. The stadium is hopelessly outdated. And the mayor of Toronto, a former Rogers executive, wants to build a major park in the area. Is there a deal to be done that gets the Jays a downtown baseball field, with real grass, while liberating the value of Rogers' real estate through a massive redevelopment?

This is a partial summary, to be sure. But who doesn't see their to-do list grow as time goes by? The opportunity is there, Joe, to make your mark, to thrive – and yes, to survive all the family politics. Good luck.

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