These board conflicts can end up very badly: David Baskin on tension within Rogers
Rogers Communications Inc. Chairman Edward Rogers says there is “room for improvement” in the company’s performance and that he has the firm’s best interests at heart as he battles family members over its strategic direction.
“As both Board Chair and a shareholder my primary focus is on the long-term performance of the business,” he said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “On this point, industry stalwarts, controlling and minority shareholders, employees, analysts and market observers agree: there is room for improvement.”
It’s Edward Rogers’s first public comment since he tried to force out Chief Executive Officer Joe Natale and replace him with Chief Financial Officer Tony Staffieri, a shift that would also have meant the departure of a number of other senior executives.
The effort failed when a majority of the board opposed the change at a meeting in late September. Staffieri left the company without explanation on Sept. 29.
The boardroom fight has fractured the family that controls Canada’s largest cable and wireless firm. Edward Rogers’s move against Natale was opposed by his sisters, Melinda Rogers-Hixon and Martha Rogers, and his mother, Loretta Rogers. The family has voting control of the public company through an entity known as the Rogers Control Trust.
The chairman’s statement did not specifically address the events of September. He said that disagreements are “essential elements of sound corporate governance.”
“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,” Edward Rogers said.
Through a spokesperson, Melinda Rogers said: “I have no comment regarding my family or confidential discussions of the Rogers board of directors.” A spokesperson for Rogers Communications declined to comment.