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Oct 29, 2021

Rogers brawl ignited by Peterson's pushback against chairman

Rogers family feud isn't good orthodox corporate governance: Institute of Corporate Directors CEO

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Former Ontario Premier David Peterson assembled a group of directors at Rogers Communications Inc. to keep Chief Executive Officer Joe Natale in charge, setting the stage for the boardroom brawl that’s now roiling the Canadian wireless company. 

Peterson’s coalition of eight directors, including three Rogers family members, joined forces on the last weekend of September to reverse a 10-1 board vote approving Natale’s exit package, according to people familiar with the matter. That vote had taken place on Sept. 24. 

Edward Rogers, the company’s chairman at the time, wanted Natale gone and tried to install Chief Financial Officer Tony Staffieri as CEO. In court filings this week, Edward Rogers said he was shocked by the board’s reversal.

But the 10-1 vote was merely in favor of accepting a term sheet on Natale’s compensation for leaving in the belief he had already decided to quit, the people said, speaking on condition that they not be identified. Peterson cast the only vote against, and he was furious about Edward Rogers’ attempt to undermine Natale and replace him with Staffieri. 

Peterson then spent the weekend convincing Natale and other directors to fight and assuring the CEO he had the necessary support to save his position at the company. 

Rogers wasn’t immediately available for comment. Peterson couldn’t be reached for comment.