Rogers Communications Inc. director Martha Rogers took aim publicly at her fellow director and brother Edward Rogers and his “Old Guard puppet masters” in a series of tweets on the weekend that called for her brother to step down as the chair of the family trust that controls Canada’s largest wireless carrier.
A bitter family feud has engulfed Rogers following an attempt by Edward Rogers to replace chief executive officer Joe Natale with the company’s chief financial officer, Tony Staffieri, and oust other executives. In one of her tweets, Martha Rogers suggested the boardroom battle was like Game of Thrones.
The battle has split Martha Rogers, her sister Melinda Rogers-Hixon and their mother Loretta Rogers from Edward Rogers, who has the support of long-time family advisers and Rogers directors Phil Lind and Alan Horn.
“Like in a bad movie, Ed & his Old Guard literally meet in dark boardrooms,” Martha Rogers wrote.
“All men. All white. All old. They think they are masters of the universe instead of thinking about the impact their instability is causing tens of thousands of people. Not this time,” she wrote, adding that the old guard she is referring to is led by Mr. Lind and Mr. Horn.
“Money, power & control have gone to their heads,” she wrote in a separate tweet.
Like in a bad movie, Ed & his Old Guard literally meet in dark boardrooms. All men. All white. All old. They think they are masters of the universe instead of thinking about the impact their instability is causing tens of thousands of people. Not this time. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 24, 2021
The Old Guards who puppeteer Ed, & who just can’t let go, are led by 📌Phil Lind & 📌Alan Horn. My father trusted to "do the right thing” & would have fired them in a heartbeat for making his biggest fear a reality. Money, power & control have gone to their heads. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 24, 2021
Ed will lose. His play date tonight with the Old Guard is another waste of time. Rogers & its assets are bigger than any one interest. My father understood that. He’d be so disappointed to see how Ed & his puppet masters are behaving destroying the company he built. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 24, 2021
Both Mr. Lind and Mr. Horn sit on the advisory committee that oversees the Rogers Control Trust, which owns 97.5 per cent of the company’s voting Class A shares. Both men have expressed their support for Edward Rogers, saying in e-mailed statements on Thursday that their priority is to help the company complete its $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.
Mr. Horn, who was chief financial officer and interim CEO twice at Rogers, wrote last week: “I’ve always been focused on helping RCI realize its full potential. I look forward to working with Edward, the Rogers family, and the reconstituted board to help the company complete its game-changing transaction with Shaw.”
On Sunday, Mr. Lind declined to comment, while Mr. Horn could not immediately be reached for comment.
In the series of tweets, which started early Saturday morning and continued on Sunday, Martha Rogers wrote “we’ll spend every penny” defending the company, its 24,000 employees, and the wishes of her late father and company founder Ted Rogers. “Nothing you can do will deter us,” she wrote. “Bring. It. On.”
When reached by The Globe and Mail Saturday, Martha Rogers declined to comment. A spokesperson for Edward Rogers did not respond to a request for comment.
The Globe reported last week that Mr. Natale learned of the plan to unseat him when Mr. Staffieri accidentally phoned him while discussing the matter with the company’s former chief legal officer, according to two sources.
An emergency weekend board meeting was called to address the matter in late September, and the majority of the company’s directors supported Mr. Natale and his team. Mr. Staffieri left the company several days later.
Edward Rogers was removed as the company’s chair last week and responded by announcing that he was replacing the five independent directors who had opposed him with his own candidates. There is now a lack of clarity over who sits on the telecom’s board. John A. MacDonald, the chair appointed last week, declared a Sunday night board meeting called by Edward Rogers “invalid.”
On Twitter, Martha Rogers referred to the board meeting as Edward Rogers’s “play date with the Old Guard” and a “waste of time.” She said their father would have been “so disappointed to see how Ed & his puppet masters are behaving destroying the company he built.”
“2 boards at one company − that’s a first. Good luck, brother,” she wrote.
In another tweet, Martha Rogers alluded to what she called her brother’s “Trump scandal,” referring to a photograph of Edward Rogers and his family posing with former U.S. president Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The photo, which was posted to his wife Suzanne Rogers’s Instagram account in May, was captioned, “A special way to end the night” and faced backlash on social media, before it was taken down.
Martha Rogers also said, in response to social-media posts comparing the conflict unfolding at Rogers to the HBO show Succession, that Game of Thrones is a more apt comparison.
She said in a subsequent tweet that her father gave her a seat on the board “as a check and balance to ensure nothing this insane occurs.”
“This is for you Dad,” she wrote.
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