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Joe Natale’s departure as Rogers CEO raises concern over company direction

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Experts say the departure of Rogers Communications Inc. CEO Joe Natale raises further questions about the company’s direction as it looks to put a boardroom power struggle behind it and focus on the acquisition of rival Shaw Communications.

In a statement late Tuesday, the telecommunications giant said Natale was out as CEO, and replaced in the interim by former chief financial Tony Staffieri as the board searches for a permanent chief executive to guide its $26-billion takeover of Shaw.

Tyler Chamberlin, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, says the family feud over chairman Edward Rogers’ attempt to replace Natale with Staffieri may be settled, but uncertainty at the top could have trickle-down effects at the company.

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But he says Natale’s exit could also lead to a fresh strategic vision following what he described as the company’s “underperformance” during the outgoing CEO’s watch.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Drew McReynolds says he is looking out for further C-suite changes, but does not believe the executive turnover will impact the regulatory approval process for the Shaw deal.

Three federal agencies are reviewing the potential acquisition, with the country’s telecom regulator slated to hold a hearing on Nov. 22.

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