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Rogers family members to take on more senior board roles

A woman walks past a Rogers sign in Toronto, on April 21, 2015.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Ted Rogers's adult children are moving into more senior roles on the board of the company the late entrepreneur founded.

Rogers Communications Inc. said on Thursday that Edward Rogers will become chairman of the board on Jan. 1, while his sister, Melinda Rogers, will replace him as deputy chair. The pair will leave formal day-to-day management of the company to chief executive officer Joe Natale and his executive team.

Outgoing chairman Alan Horn said the company "is in great shape" with Mr. Natale in charge, adding in a statement: "This is the right time for the board to make the planned transition of the chair's role to Edward."

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This is the first time in decades that a Rogers family member will hold the chairmanship of the public company. Edward Rogers has long coveted the top board job, according to people close to him, and the moves – which were confirmed at a directors' meeting on Thursday – will symbolically entrench the siblings' influence over the company.

Despite being removed from operational roles in 2014, near the beginning of Guy Laurence's tenure as CEO, they have always wielded significant power thanks to their father's plan to create a lasting legacy for his family.

After starting with a single Toronto radio station in 1960 and building his company into a cable and media empire, Ted Rogers created a dual-class share structure that vested his family's control in Class A shares with all the voting rights. The founder died in 2008, and Edward Rogers is now chair of the Rogers Control Trust, which controls 91 per cent of the company's voting shares. Ted's widow, Loretta Rogers, is also on the board of directors, as is another daughter, Martha Rogers, but Edward and Melinda have been the most involved with the company. (A fourth sibling, Lisa Rogers, is not on the board.)

Edward Rogers spent 20 years in management roles, including as president of Rogers Cable, when it was a separate division. Melinda Rogers worked at the company for 15 years and was the senior vice-president of strategy and development before both siblings left their operational roles in 2014.

Mr. Horn, who has been chairman since 2006, will continue to serve on the board of the Toronto-based cable and wireless company. He was chief financial officer for a decade and served twice as acting CEO, most recently filling in between the departure of Mr. Laurence in October, 2016, and Mr. Natale's arrival in April. In an interview with The Globe and Mail in November, Mr. Natale suggested the siblings would not resume operational roles, saying he has a strong management team in place.

"They're great board members, who've been very supportive of me over all," Mr. Natale said of the Rogers family members.

Edward Rogers is also chair of the Rogers Bank and the Toronto Blue Jays, and sits on the board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (which is co-owned by Rogers), and CableLabs, a North American cable association.

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Melinda Rogers is vice-chair of the Rogers Control Trust and founder of Rogers Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund, and is also chair of the board of Texture by Next Issue, an app that gives users digital access to magazines.

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About the Author
Telecom Reporter

Christine Dobby covers the Canadian telecom industry for The Globe and Mail. Before joining the Globe in May 2014 she reported for the Financial Post for three years, most recently writing about telecom and media. She has also reported for the Toronto Star and New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. More

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