Rogers Communications Inc. has appointed Ron McKenzie as the telecom giant’s new chief technology officer, less than two weeks after the company’s network went offline and left millions of Canadians unable to access internet, cell phone, or television services.

A Rogers spokesperson confirmed that McKenzie, formerly the president of the company’s business unit that sold telecom services to corporate clients, would take on the role effective immediately, replacing former CTO Jorge Fernandes.

“Rogers can confirm Jorge Fernandes will be stepping step down from his role as Chief Technology and Information Officer. Effective immediately, Ron McKenzie becomes Chief Technology and Information Officer,” a company spokesperson told BNN Bloomberg in an emailed statement.

The network outage on July 8 left millions of Rogers’ customers unable to access basic telecom services after what the company later described as a “maintenance update” that caused some of its routers to malfunction.

The outage also led to a variety of services including 9-1-1 calls and debit transactions using Interac to be offline, resulting in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission calling on Rogers to act to improve its network reliability. Rogers has until Friday to deliver an explanation to the CRTC about the cause of the outage and plans on how it will prevent future incidents.

Following the service disruption, Rogers said it would provide affected customers with a five-day credit, which analysts expect could cost the company as much as $175 million. The company is also reportedly planning to split its wireless and cable networks into two separate networks to add further redundancies to prevent future widespread outages.

The outage also reignited regulatory concerns about Rogers’ blockbuster $20-billion proposed deal to acquire rival Shaw Communications Inc. Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who still needs to sign off on the deal, called the network problem “unacceptable” and ordered an investigation of the incident. The Competition Bureau, Canada’s antitrust body, has also planned for a judicial review aimed at blocking the deal on the grounds that it will reduce competition in the wireless market.

According to his LinkedIn profile, McKenzie joined Rogers in Nov. 2019 following nearly 11 years at Shaw where he held a number of senior executive positions including serving as the Calgary-based company’s chief operating officer. National Bank Financial Analyst Adam Shine said in a report to clients on Thursday that Rogers’ executive change was “inevitable” following the network outage and that McKenzie is well-regarded as a “process-oriented executive who appears qualified for his new responsibilities.”

“It's also worth acknowledging that his work at both companies should offer a good fit during the future anticipated integration of Shaw whose purchase still requires regulatory approvals from the Competition Bureau and ISED,” Shine noted.

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