Rogers Communications Inc. co-founder and director Loretta Rogers, the widow of Ted Rogers, responded to e-mailed questions from The Globe and Mail about the power struggle at Canada’s biggest wireless carrier. Her son Edward, Rogers’ chair, attempted to remove CEO Joe Natale and other executives from the company, but was rebuffed as his sister Melinda Rogers and other directors stood in support of them.
How do you feel about the company’s recent performance and long-term strategy?
I’m very supportive of where we are today and where we’re going. One of the wonderful things about being a family run company is we take a long-term view, not just quarter by quarter.
Before Ted’s passing, he planned for professional leaders taking over the company, with the family continuing to be deeply involved. That meant we needed to find the right CEO to lead us forward, and we have that in Joe.
The investments we’re making to come together with Shaw, in our networks, in our communities, and in our employees are the right ones and I’m very confident about the future of Rogers under Joe and his leadership team.
It looks like there’s a deep rift within the family trust – what can you tell us about that?
First, I’ll say that it’s unfortunate that some confidential discussions have made their way into the media. Second, some of what I’ve read in the media over the past week has been overblown.
When Ted and I set up the trust we did so in a way that brought together a combination of family and long-time company executives who helped build Rogers into the company it is today with us. Ted trusted every member to protect his legacy and build a strong Rogers for generations to come.
Every family has disagreements, and in that respect we’re no different. We each have strong views but at the end of the day, we all have the best interest of Rogers at heart.
We understand that Edward intended not only to replace Joe Natale with Tony Staffieri but also to part with up to nine other members of the executive leadership team. What are your concerns with Edward’s plans to overhaul the management team?
I truly want my family and our board to have strong opinions on what they think is best for the future of our company and Ted’s legacy. That’s our job. But my hope is that from now on, those important and confidential discussions stay in the room. Our board showed their unequivocal support for Joe and the direction he and the management team are taking the company. Everybody came to the right conclusion for what is best for the company long-term.
Do you intend to renew Edward’s position as chair of the Rogers Control Trust for another year? If not, would Melinda take that role?
Discussions around the trust are private but I know that every member wants to put the company first with every decision they make.
Ted cared deeply about his family and wanted to ensure that they would continue to be part of Rogers for generations to come.
Every member of our family brings their own valuable perspectives and contributions and I know that they all share the goal of having our company continue to grow.
Are you contemplating changes to strengthen the company’s governance in light of recent events? If so, what would they be?
We have a strong track record of good governance and that will continue. I have full confidence in our board. This group of people reflects a wide diversity of views and has fantastic experience from a variety of backgrounds.
What do you think that Ted would have wanted?
There is no doubt in my mind that Ted would be incredibly proud of where our company is today and where we’re headed.
Ted was a true visionary, spotting things other people didn’t, relentless in figuring out what customers needed, but more importantly what they would want in the future.
He woke up every day thinking about Rogers’s customers - I remember at one point, I was home one evening and a customer called our house, I asked how they got our phone number and they told me Ted gave it to them. That really speaks to who he was.
When I think about where we are today, with Joe and our team of 24,000 employees, making bold investments to grow our company, take care of employees, give back to our communities and be there for Canadians for decades to come, I know Ted would be incredibly pleased with the journey we’re on.
Inside Rogers board battle: Wife of late Ted Rogers, Loretta, backs CEO Natale