Nadir Mohamed takes helm of Rogers

Nadir Mohamed has been promoted to CEO of Rogers Communications, which encompasses the company’s cable, magazine, television and telecom units. The chartered accountant had been president of the company’s communications group.

A company spokesperson said Mohamed was not willing to speak with the media yet.

Mohamed took the helm of Rogers Wireless, formerly known as Cantel, in August, 2000. Ted Rogers, who founded the company the bears his name in 1960, died last December at 75. His son, Edward, is president of Rogers Cable. His daughter, Melinda Rogers, is senior vice-president for strategy and development.

Mohamed, formerly of BC Telecom, led Rogers Wireless until 2005.

“It’s no surprise that a guy coming out of the wireless area is leading the company,” said Jon Arnold, Principal of J. Arnold and Associates in Toronto. He added it’s no coincidence that Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) CEO George Cope (who led Telus Mobility) was also from the wireless side of the business, because wireless is the big area of growth for both companies.

Before Nadir joined Rogers Wireless, the carrier reported an annual loss of $36 million on revenues of $1.36 billion. Last year Rogers reported net earnings of $1 billion on revenues of $6.3 billion from its wireless division alone.

The introduction of the iPhone 3G last year helped Rogers get a head start on Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility, which are working on their own High Speed Packet Access network, Arnold said.

Arnold does not foresee any major changes resulting from Mohamed’s leadership.

“I don’t think the fundamental mix of business is going to change a whole lot because everything is working well,” he said.

In addition to wireless, Rogers operates its cable company and a media division, whose magazines include Maclean’s and Canadian Business. Rogers Media also operates the Rogers Centre domed stadium (formerly known as the SkyDome), five television stations and 53 radio stations.

“Rogers is unique, I think, amongst all companies that started out as cablecos because of this collection of assets that they’ve built up,” Arnold said. Two major threats to the company are a “re-energized Bell,” which until December was pre-occupied with a takeover attempt by a consortium led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund.

The other threat is the Advanced Wireless Spectrum auction, which has allowed new companies, such as Data and Audio Visual Enterprises (DAVE), Globalive, Public Mobile and Videotron, to enter the market.

“When the wireless guys come to market, Rogers already has the Fido brand,” Arnold said, referring to the company’s acquisition in 2004 of Montreal-based Microcell.

“They already have their branded pre paid entry market phone service and that’s an important piece that all the incumbent guys need,” Arnold said. “They have the most complete set of assets of any operator out there and so Nadir is young enough, savvy enough and been in the business long enough to know how to make these things work. He has the ability to lead the company in the wireless arena. He may not be a cable TV guy but that industry is fairly saturated.”

Through its cable division, Rogers also offers local and long-distance telecommunications services. It bought Call-Net Enterprises Inc., which operated Sprint Canada, for $330 million, in 2005.

“Rogers has no huge albatross around their neck in legacy telephony,” Arnold said, adding this gives the company an advantage over Bell and Telus.

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