Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #6, Guy Laurence
Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it
6 Laurence’s greatest triumph of 2015 was also his easiest: signing off on the decision to bring a slew of all-stars to the Blue Jays. The resulting fandemonium softened Rogers’ austere corporate image. Though their inability to re-sign Alex Anthopoulos, the team’s GM (and local hero), undid some goodwill, Torontonians won’t forget their first playoff run in a generation. On the business front, Laurence is now entering year three of his attempted turnaround of the telecom giant, which posted almost $13 billion in revenue in 2014. Shomi, the company’s video-on-demand partnership with Shaw, is poised for growth now that it’s available to non–Rogers cable subscribers. With this year’s $465-million acquisition of struggling Mobilicity, Laurence even managed to buy Rogers a little more wireless spectrum, a tricky feat in Canada’s tight regulatory environment.
In 2016, Rogers will roll out gigabit Internet, giving its customers the theoretical ability to download movies in a flash, and 4K video for cable junkies who want to make out every stitch on the ball during Jays games.