Edward Rogers’s attempt to name new directors goes against B.C. law, telecom says

October 24, 2021
Edward Rogers's attempt to name new directors goes against B.C. law, telecom says

Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) says it rejected an attempt by former chair Edward Rogers to name a slate of new directors because the move “does not comply with laws of British Columbia,” where the company is incorporated.

“The proposal by Mr. Edward Rogers to hold a purported Board meeting with his proposed slate of directors this weekend does not comply with laws of British Columbia, where Rogers Communications Inc. is incorporated, and is therefore not valid,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

“Accordingly, the purported Board meeting and anything that may arise from such a meeting is also invalid.”

The company did not offer details on what laws the move would contravene.

In a statement to CBC News, however, Edward Rogers said the board meeting will “proceed as planned.”

WATCH | Rogers plagued by leadership dispute, family infighting:

Rogers Communications plagued with leadership dispute and family infighting

Telecom giant Rogers Communications has been thrown into turmoil over an internal leadership dispute between members of the Rogers family itself. All this while the company tries to finalize a massive $26 billion deal to take over Shaw Communications. 2:04

“The new Board and the Company have important business to attend to and we will not engage in debates in the media with former directors,” the statement read.

Saturday’s duelling statements are the latest developments in an ugly fight for control of the company.

Former chair still seeking change

Edward Rogers was ousted as chair of the company his father founded on Thursday after his failed bid to wrest control of the company. 

He then pitched a plan to replace five members of the company’s board with new people of his choosing, saying in a statement that he “believes that it would be in the best interests of RCI to reconstitute the board.”

On Friday evening, the company responded to that move by making it clear that it has no plans to do that.

Rogers President and CEO Joe Natale, right, and Edward Rogers are seen in Toronto in April 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

While out as chair, Edward Rogers remains on the board. And his move to replace other board members suggests he’s still seeking change at the top.

“It is disappointing that the former Chairman is attempting to act unilaterally without regard for the interests of the company and all of Rogers’ shareholders,” the company said Saturday.

In September, Edward Rogers tried to get rid of CEO Joe Natale and put the company’s chief financial officer, Tony Staffieri, into the top job.

An emergency board meeting was called, at which three members of the Rogers family — sisters Melinda and Martha, along with their mother, Loretta — banded together to stop Edward’s plan.

Natale reportedly heard of the plan to oust him when Staffieri accidentally pocket-dialled him while discussing the plan with one of the company’s former executives, the Globe and Mail reported Thursday.

Natale ‘fully focused’ on Shaw deal

Natale offered public comment on Saturday for the first time since the saga began, issuing a statement reaffirming his commitment to both company shareholders and a proposed takeover of rival Shaw Communications Inc.

Natale is widely viewed as the architect of the $26-billion deal, which is still awaiting regulatory approval.

“We remain fully focused on successfully coming together with Shaw to deliver the next phase of Rogers’ strategic growth and better serve Canadians in communities from coast to coast,” his statement said.

Martha Rogers also weighed in via Twitter, making her opposition to her brother’s moves abundantly clear.

“Unlike Ed I have no lawyers, PR spin firms, staff or media training. Don’t need it,” she wrote.

“I’m no one special, just a fairly ordinary woman put in extraordinary circumstances. Ted put me on the board as a check and balance to ensure nothing this insane occurs. This is for you Dad.”

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