Canada's Rogers names Vodafone UK chief as new CEO

TORONTO Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:21am EDT

A woman walks by a sign at the Rogers Communications headquarters building on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A woman walks by a sign at the Rogers Communications headquarters building on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 25, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's biggest cable and wireless company, Rogers Communications Inc said on Thursday that Guy Laurence will take over as chief executive in December, following the retirement of current CEO Nadir Mohamed.

Laurence, currently CEO of Vodafone Group Plc's British unit, faces declining cable revenue and a challenging wireless landscape at Rogers. But he is seen as an executive who transformed Vodafone UK's corporate culture and competitive prospects via cost-cutting and a management shake-up.

"Laurence clearly has extensive wireless experience in some of the most competitive markets in the world and has obviously dealt with regulatory challenges in the EU, which could be very useful in his new role," Canaccord Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose wrote in a note to clients.

Rogers, along with its biggest rivals BCE Inc and Telus Corp, are locked in combat with the federal government over rules Ottawa has put in place to encourage more wireless competition, but which the established operators say unfairly disadvantage them ahead of a key auction of airwaves.

Before joining Vodafone in 2000, Laurence worked at media companies MGM Studios, United Cinemas and Chrysalis Records.

Mohamed announced his retirement earlier this year.

Rogers shares were down 0.9 percent at C$43.07 by mid-morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Julie Gordon; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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