The Rogers Communications Inc. board of directors will meet next week to discuss chair Edward Rogers’s future interactions with the company’s management in light of Mr. Rogers’s thwarted attempt to oust the telecom giant’s chief executive, says a source familiar with the plans.
The board meeting is planned for the week of Oct. 18, according to the source, who The Globe and Mail is not identifying because the person is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Rogers is scheduled to release its third-quarter results that week, on Oct. 21.
Mr. Rogers did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.
The Globe reported last Friday that Mr. Rogers unsuccessfully attempted to remove company CEO Joe Natale from the top job and replace him with the company’s chief financial officer, Tony Staffieri, according to three sources familiar with the situation. One of the sources said Mr. Rogers was also planning to oust other members of the company’s executive leadership team. (The Globe is not identifying the sources as they are not authorized to discuss the matter.)
During an emergency board meeting on Sunday, Sept. 26, Melinda Rogers-Hixon, deputy chair of the family-controlled company and Mr. Rogers’s sister, strongly opposed her brother’s plan, the sources said. Instead, the overwhelming majority of the board and the family threw their support behind Mr. Natale and his management team. Mr. Staffieri, who joined Rogers in 2012, prior to Mr. Natale’s arrival – and has been known to butt heads with him – exited the company on Sept. 29.
News of the power struggle at Canada’s largest wireless carrier comes as Rogers seeks regulatory approval of its deal to acquire Shaw Communications Inc. for $26-billion, including debt. Three federal bodies – the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development – are reviewing the acquisition.
A spokesperson for Rogers said the company’s CEO and management team remain focused on running the business. “That includes successfully coming together with Shaw to increase connectivity for rural, remote and Indigenous communities and increasing competition by accelerating the rollout of our 5G network across Canada,” Scott Davidson said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Shaw declined to comment.
The acquisition of Shaw is expected to face intense scrutiny from regulators, as it would reduce the number of competing wireless carriers from four to three in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Some analysts predict Rogers will have to sell off Shaw’s wireless businesses, Freedom Mobile and Shaw Mobile, to win approval of the takeover.
Executive turnover has plagued Rogers since the death of its founder, Ted Rogers, in 2008. The company has had three CEOs since then, starting with Nadir Mohamed, a Rogers veteran who stepped down from the top job in 2013.
Edward Rogers personally led the campaign to recruit Guy Laurence, who previously led Vodafone Group PLC’s telecom business in Britain, to the top job. But the brash Brit departed abruptly less than three years later.
He was replaced in 2017 by Mr. Natale, the former CEO of Telus Corp. Mr. Rogers is said to have led the recruitment effort and helped to negotiate an agreement that freed Mr. Natale from a lengthy noncompete agreement with Telus.
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