Guy Laurence Out as CEO of Canadian Media Giant Rogers Communications
His sudden departure follows a wrong-way bet on Shomi, a local SVOD, to compete against Netflix Canada and costly investments in Vice Media and NHL TV rights.
Former Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence is out as head of Rogers Communications, Canada's largest mobile phone and cable TV provider, after less than three years in the post.
Toronto-based Rogers on Monday made the surprise announcement that Laurence "will step down, effective immediately," without giving a reason for his departure. Laurence’s replacement is former Telus CEO Joe Natale.
"On behalf of the Rogers family and the Board, I'd like to thank Guy for his competitive spirit and many contributions," Edward Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications, said in a statement. Before Vodafone and taking the helm at Rogers in December 2013, Laurence completed a number of media executive stints, including one at MGM Studios.
His reign at Canada's Rogers, which includes the City conventional TV network and cable channels like FX Canada and the Sportsnet TV sports franchise, included controversial bets like a $4.9 billion NHL TV rights deal that has been met by steady ratings declines and a $100 million joint venture with Vice Media to build a Toronto production studio and make mobile, web and TV content.
Another wrong-way bet was Shomi, a subscription VOD service that Rogers last month said will shut down on Nov. 30 after booking a $100 million-$140 million loss.