The Rogers family and its closest advisers were scheduled to gather on Tuesday evening in a meeting led by Toronto mayor John Tory to discuss a power struggle at Rogers Communications Inc. that has created a rift between chair Edward Rogers and his relatives, according to sources.
Mr. Rogers recently attempted to replace chief executive officer Joe Natale with chief financial officer Tony Staffieri and oust other members of the leadership team. The move triggered a boardroom fight that has pitted Mr. Rogers against his sisters Martha Rogers and deputy chair Melinda Rogers-Hixon, and his mother, Loretta Rogers.
Mr. Tory, who sits on the advisory committee that oversees the family trust, was set to chair Tuesday’s meeting between members of the trust and independent directors, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The Globe is not identifying the sources because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Various parties were expected to present their perspectives on recent developments and a possible path forward for the company, one of the sources said. Lawyers representing the parties were also expected to attend, the source said.
The board has a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, ahead of the company’s third-quarter results, which are to be announced on Thursday. A spokesperson for Rogers declined to comment.
Don Peat, a spokesperson for Mr. Tory, said in an e-mail that “out of respect for everyone involved [Mr. Tory] has not been speaking about these private matters and will not be changing his approach.”
The attempt to unseat the CEO of Canada’s largest wireless carrier during the $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc., failed when a majority of the company’s board opposed it at an emergency meeting on Sept. 26. Mr. Staffieri left the company without explanation three days later.
On Monday, The Globe reported that Mr. Rogers has made a formal request for a list of the company’s shareholders and had discussions with potential candidates to replace board members, according to a source with direct knowledge of the issue. The Globe is not identifying the person because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
Such a request for a list of shareholders typically precedes an attempt to make changes to a company’s board of directors.
In a statement on Monday that did not provide specifics, Mr. Rogers said he sees “room for improvement” in the company’s long-term performance.
“In my role as chair of the Rogers Control Trust, the controlling shareholder of the company, it is my responsibility to put the interests of RCI first. It’s disappointing the focus of others has strayed from what is best for the business,” Mr. Rogers said in the statement, which was first provided to Bloomberg News.
The Rogers Control Trust, along with other family holding companies it controls, owns 97.5 per cent of the company’s voting Class A shares. It is overseen by an advisory committee comprising 10 people, including Loretta Rogers, her daughters Martha and Lisa Rogers, as well as Loretta’s nephew David Robinson. Mr. Rogers, who is the chair of the control trust, and Ms. Rogers-Hixon, who is vice-chair, also sit on the committee.
The committee’s non-family members are Alan Horn, who previously served as the company’s chief financial officer and its interim CEO; Thomas Hull, a childhood friend of the company’s founder, Ted Rogers; Ted’s long-time adviser Phil Lind; and Mr. Tory, who ran Rogers’ cable operations under Ted. Decisions of the committee require a two-thirds vote.
Ms. Rogers, the company’s longest-standing director and the widow of the late founder, told The Globe last week that she supports Mr. Natale and his management team. “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,” Ms. Rogers said in an e-mail responding to questions from The Globe.
The Shaw acquisition, valued at $26-billion including debt, is being reviewed by three federal bodies: the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022.
TD Securities analyst Vince Valentini said in a note to clients recently that he expects the company’s third-quarter results to be the first of several consecutive quarters that will show improvements stemming from the reopening of the U.S. border and more normal levels of immigration and foreign students.
The pandemic has had an outsized effect on Rogers, which derives more of its revenues from the wireless business and, in particular, from roaming charges, than its rivals, Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. Roaming fees, which are charged when wireless customers use their devices abroad, plunged due to travel restrictions, while stalled immigration has hampered the wireless market’s growth.
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