Rogers Communications Hires German Telecom Veteran to Lead Consumer Business

Kings Ducks NHL - H 2014
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Kings Ducks NHL - H 2014

Former Deutsche Telekom sales boss Dirk Woessner joins Rogers Communications as it bets on hockey to keep cable, mobile subscribers.

Canadian cable, mobile phone giant Rogers Communications has hired German telecom veteran Dirk Woessner to head its consumer business and stem a loss of TV subscribers with blanket hockey coverage.

Woessner joins Toronto-based Rogers, effective April 6, from Deutsche Telekom, where he oversaw sales and distribution for nearly 40 million mobile phone and 12.3 million broadband subscribers. As president of Rogers' consumer business unit, Woessner will be charged with helping Canada's largest mobile phone provider stop losing cable TV subscribers to Netflix Canada, even as it adds Internet access customers.

"Dirk is a seasoned executive who has led large scale operations at one of Europe's leading telecommunications providers," said Guy Laurence, Rogers Communications president and CEO, in a statement Monday. Laurence, also a telecom veteran, a year ago came over from Britain, where he was CEO of Vodafone UK, to shake up Rogers Communications as its new head.

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Rogers' consumer business sports a suite of TV channels, including the City and Sportsnet networks, which last year inked a $5.2 billion rights deal with the NHL to drive games to hockey-mad Canadians across their TV screens, tablets and mobile phones. Rogers also recently signed a $100 million partnership with Vice Media to jointly build a new production studio in Toronto and make Canadian-focused mobile, web and TV content for domestic and worldwide distribution.

Rogers' cable TV assets also compete directly in eastern Canada with rival telecom giant BCE's top-rated CTV network and its Internet protocol TV service Bell Fibe. "The Canadian consumer communications market continues to mature and I see a significant opportunity to leverage my experience from Europe working with the Rogers team to build differentiation and deliver more value for Rogers customers," Woessner said in his own statement.