UPDATE 2-Telus names new CEO, Entwistle stays on as executive chairman

Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:54pm EDT
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(Adds comments from analyst, former colleague of incoming CEO. Updates share price)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Canadian telecommunications company Telus Corp shuffled its top ranks on Monday, with Chief Executive Officer Darren Entwistle set to become executive chairman and long-time lieutenant Joe Natale due to replace him.

Analysts were broadly positive about the promotion of Natale, who is currently Telus' chief commercial officer, though Entwistle is expected to remain active in his new role.

"I think that Natale will be running the show but that Darren very much wants to keep a hand on the tiller, if not on the sails," said Iain Grant, managing director at SeaBoard Group, a telecom consultancy.

Entwistle has led Vancouver-based Telus for the last 14 years. He is widely lauded for taking a C$6 billion-plus gamble to buy cellular company Clearnet early in his tenure in order to build a wireless service that is now the single-largest revenue generator for Telus.

But he was also known as a hard-driven executive willing to confront policymakers, speaking out forcefully last year against a range of steps Ottawa took to spur more competition in the industry.

"Darren can be more confrontational and goal-directed where Natale is more consensus-oriented. That might bode well for relationships in Ottawa," said SeaBoard's Grant.

Nikolas Petridis, a former Telus senior sales manager who worked with Natale, also said his appointment as CEO could help salve the company's relationship with the federal government.   Continued...