Manitoba Telecom CEO to retire later this year

TORONTO Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:31am EDT

TORONTO Aug 12 (Reuters) - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc (MTS) said on Tuesday its long-time chief executive officer Pierre Blouin plans to retire from his post later this year.

Blouin, who has been at the helm of the regional telco firm for close to a decade, has agreed to stay with the company until a replacement has been appointed and to assist in the transition.

The company said its board has begun a search and expects to announce Blouin's successor in advance of his retirement date to ensure a seamless and orderly transition.

Blouin, a telecom industry veteran, worked for over 20 years at Canadian telecom giant BCE Inc before moving across to head MTS.

He brokered a deal to sell the regional player's fiber optic network, Allstream, to a company controlled by Egyptian telecom tycoon Naguib Sawiris for C$520 million ($475 million) last May.

The deal was designed to leave MTS as a 'pure-play' regional player, and some investors and analysts at the time speculated it would pave the way for MTS itself to eventually get acquired by a larger national player like BCE or rival Telus Corp.

In a surprise move in October last year though the Canadian government blocked the sale of the fiber optic network, citing national security concerns.

MTS stock has fallen roughly 6 percent since then and closed at C$30.60 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1 dollar = 1.0946 Canadian dollar) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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