Canada's Telus brings back company veteran Entwistle as CEO

Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:09pm EDT
 
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By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Telus Corp announced a surprise change in its leadership on Monday, with former Chief Executive Officer Darren Entwistle returning as CEO of the major Canadian telecoms company a little over a year after handing the reins to Joe Natale.

Telus, which is based in Vancouver on Canada's West Coast, said it made the change after Natale said he would not move to Western Canada by 2017, sparking an "extensive review."

Natale has been working in Toronto.

Analysts were sanguine about the move even as Telus shares dropped 1.4 percent to C$43.97.

"While the news is a surprise, we do not see any change to the strategic direction or financial priorities of the company," RBC Capital Markets analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in a note.

The move comes less than two months after Telus was beaten out by market leader Rogers Communications in a drawn-out quest to acquire struggling telecom startup Mobilicity.

Entwistle's appointment is effective immediately, but Telus said Natale would stay on in an executive, non board capacity through the end of the year. He has an 18-month noncompete clause after that.

Entwistle, as executive chairman, has remained closely involved in Telus's day-to-day operations, many analysts said, despite stepping out of the CEO role. He had been CEO for 14 years until May 2014.   Continued...

 
Former Telus CEO Darren Entwistle speaks at the annual general meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia May 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Ben Nelms