Nov 16 (Reuters) - The chairman of Rogers Communications Inc
tightened his grip on the Canadian company with the
appointment of his confidante Tony Staffieri as the interim
chief executive on Tuesday, replacing Joe Natale, with whom he
had a falling out.
The development comes after the telecommunications company
earlier https://reut.rs/3ChYKOY this month reinstated ousted
Chairman Edward Rogers after a court backed his petition to
constitute a new board.
The company said https://refini.tv/3wUZgBx Natale has left
the company, effective Tuesday, and the search for a permanent
chief executive officer is on.
Natale's exit delivered another twist to the turbulent few
weeks at Canada's biggest wireless carrier, after a messy feud
in the founding family spilled into the public and sparked a
bitter battle for the control of the board.
A rare public fight to rock the Canadian corporate world was
triggered over the question of who should lead the company and
had weighed on the stock.
Some analysts flagged doubts whether the uncertainty would
impact Rogers' proposed C$20 billion ($16.1 billion) bid for
rival Shaw Communications - its biggest takeover.
The dispute started in September after Edward Rogers, the
only son of late founder Ted Rogers, tried to drop Natale from
the position of the CEO, saying he had lost confidence in
Natale's ability to lead the company through the Shaw merger.
Edward Rogers wanted to replace Natale with Staffieri, the
company's then chief financial officer, but he failed to win
board support and that resulted in Staffieri leaving the
company. But Edward Rogers' attempt to replace the CEO put him
at odds with his mother and two sisters, who are company
Edward Rogers lost out in the power struggle and was removed
as the chairman of Rogers. But he petitioned https://reut.rs/3FsevVz
the British Columbia Supreme Court to validate the new slate of
directors he had appointed, and the court ruled in his favour.
"Tony is amongst the most highly regarded and seasoned
telecommunications executives in the industry and was a key part
of the Shaw deal," Edward Rogers said in a statement.
Staffieri has more than 30 years of experience in the
telecoms, media, sports and financial sectors, including nine
years as the chief financial officer of Rogers. Prior to joining
Rogers, Staffieri held senior positions at BCE Inc.
Rogers Communications director Robert Gemmell said in a
statement that following the court ruling, the board had worked
to establish a "constructive working relationship" to see Natale
remain CEO through the closing of the Shaw merger. But a
mutually agreeable arrangement could not be reached, resulting
in Natale's departure, the statement added.
The boardroom battle has weighed on the company's shares,
which gained just 2% so far this year, compared with a 17.6%
jump in BCE and 14.5% rise in Telus Corp, both rivals of
The unique ownership structure in Rogers gives the chairman
enormous power. Under the structure, 10 people close to the late
founder, including his four children and widow, and several
longtime family friends, sit on an advisory committee of the
Rogers Control Trust. The trust owns 97.5% of Class A voting
shares in Rogers.
The company said the merger process with Shaw continues to
move forward, and the teams of Rogers and Shaw will meet
Canada's telecoms regulator and attend a public hearing on Nov.
The news was earlier reported by The Globe and Mail.
($1 = 1.2557 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Denny Thomas in
Toronto; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Uttaresh.V and