Rogers Communications Inc.’s RCI-B-T former chief regulatory officer, who is suing the company for wrongful dismissal, was let go due to performance issues, the Toronto-based telecom alleges in its recently filed statement of defence.
Ted Woodhead, who served as the company’s chief regulatory officer and head of government affairs leading up to the consummation of the telecom’s $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc., is one of two former executives suing Rogers for wrongful dismissal. The other is former human resources vice-president Moheni Singh.
Mr. Woodhead is seeking damages for “wrongful dismissal, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.” In his statement of claim, he alleges that the company denied him his Shaw bonus despite the fact that he was a “key player in the discussions” and “integral” to the deal’s success.
However, in its statement of defence, Rogers says Mr. Woodhead “did not lead the negotiations” relating to the Shaw deal.
“In fact, as result of the inadequacies in his performance, others were more involved than they should have had to have been and the decision was made to terminate him on a without cause basis,” reads the statement of defence, which was filed on July 27.
The company also says that the Shaw bonus was not intended to compensate employees for work that was completed before the deal closed, but rather to incentivize them to achieve cost savings and growth during the process of integrating the two companies over the following years.
Mr. Woodhead and a spokesperson for Rogers both declined to comment.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Mr. Woodhead was recruited to Rogers in 2020 from Telus Corp. T-T by then Rogers chief executive officer Joe Natale. He was later promoted by Tony Staffieri, who took over the top job in late 2021 following a tumultuous boardroom battle.
Mr. Woodhead was let go in April, shortly after the takeover closed, amid several other leadership changes, including the appointment of former federal industry minister Navdeep Bains to the role of chief corporate affairs officer.
In his statement of claim, Mr. Woodhead said he was a “conscientious and diligent employee” who received “consistently solid ratings on his performance reviews.”
Rogers, however, claims that Mr. Woodhead’s performance “was not praised” and that his 2023 long-term incentive award was “below target because of his poor performance.”
“The problems with his performance were fairly consistent throughout the second half of 2022 and 2023 until his termination,” the statement of defence reads.
Mr. Woodhead is seeking roughly $350,000 in incentive compensation, $2.46-million in deferred compensation and $1.89-million that he says he would have earned over what he calls a “reasonable notice period of 16 months.”
The company is asking for the case to be dismissed with costs.
Rogers has parted with a number of employees as it looks to eliminate duplicate roles following its takeover of Shaw. While some employees have been let go, others have chosen to leave as part of a voluntary staff departure program. The Globe and Mail previously reported that roughly 1,200 employees have accepted voluntary departure packages.
One of the people let go as part of the restructuring at Rogers is Ms. Singh, the human resources vice-president, who is suing her former employer. She claims the company promised her certain compensation in exchange for postponing her retirement, then dismissed her before she could receive that compensation.
Rogers has denied Ms. Singh’s claims, saying that it “honoured its contractual obligations” to her and provided her with “generous separation entitlements.”