Citing Health Issues, Quebecor CEO Robert Dépatie Steps Down

by Istvan Fekete on April 29, 2014

Quebecor, the carrier that captured the country’s attention after the 700 MHz spectrum auction ended, is yet again in focus in the media: it announced its second (surprise?) change of leadership in little more than a year yesterday.

Citing health reasons, current Quebecor CEO Robert Dépatie will step down a year after he took over the role from Pierre Karl Péladeau. Dépatie became the leader of Quebecor after spending more than a decade at the helm of the company’s growth engine, its Internet and Cable division, Vidéotron. According to the company announcement, Dépatie will remain with Quebecor until May 30 to oversee the transition as Pierre Dion takes over his role.

Mr. Dion has also been with the company for a decade and has been president and CEO of its broadcast and publishing subsidiary TVA Group since 2005. “Our model is very integrated — it’s a convergence model so all the main decisions we make as a group,” he said, noting that he has been at the table for crucial decisions including those related to Vidéotron. “I was close with Robert, I was close to Pierre Karl. We built this company as a team.”

The announcement is Quebecor’s second surprise announcement in a year: the first one was Péladeau’s retirement last year. Since Dépatie was viewed as a star in the cable and telecom world, taking over the company seemed like a great move.

Analysts seem to corroborate that: “In my view, Dépatie was certainly one of the best executives in the sector,” Dvai Ghose, head of research at Canaccord Genuity, said Monday, pointing to his history of reinvigorating Vidéotron’s performance.

And now, a year after he took over the company, Dépatie has announced that he will retire and that his position will be taken by Pierre Dion, an “unknown” in the sector – voices say. This is a surprise move, yet again.

Dion takes over a company facing erosion of its dominance of the Québec television market, and mystery surrounds its plans for expansion into the rest of Canada.
Quebecor has declined to go into details about the health issues Dépatie is facing or the timing of the board’s decision to recommend Dion as replacement.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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