Shaw Loses Wireless Head

by Jordan Richardson on January 7, 2011

With Shaw Communications gearing up to step into the wireless arena, news of the departure of Laurence Cooke is stunning.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a spokeswoman confirmed the departure but didn’t offer any further comment. Other reports are stating that the head of Shaw’s wireless plans left for “professional and personal reasons,” but the announcement hasn’t been made in any formal capacity just yet.

Cooke was hired just last summer to take Shaw into the wireless fray.

Recent tumult in the company has left many wondering about the reliability of their wireless plans and whether the whole venture will pan out or not. Shaw’s stocks have underperformed in comparison to rival Telus and Jim Shaw Jr. stepped down in what became a more bizarre situation by the moment, culminating in reports of his “shocking” behaviour at a luncheon for investors.

With the lucrative CanWest deal done, Shaw’s foray into wireless has considerable importance attached to it and that’s why the departure of Cooke matters. The amount of competition in the wireless sector is particularly fierce, so Shaw had better have its proverbial ducks in a row prior to launch. This sort of uncertainty doesn’t bode well for what was planned to be a late 2011 release of wireless services.

Cooke previously worked for BCE Inc. and Accenture. He was brought about as vice president of wireless to lead the day-to-day running of the operations in the sector. Implementation was also on his plate, so it’ll be interesting to see how the decision affects the line of operations as time progresses.

Some analysts consider the late 2011 launch to be too soon, what with the CanWest purchase still warm and the shuffling behind-the-scenes obviously having an impact. It would be in the best interest of Shaw to cool its jets before running off into a tough sector, but there’s been no word from the corporation with respect to scaling back any of its plans.

Cooke wasn’t available for comment and many of the executives from Shaw Communications that would have something to offer are attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

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