Saturday, October 23, 2021

Rogers Communications Disrupted With Family Spat

The ousted chairman of Canada's Rogers Communications Inc has laid out plans to regain control of the board in the latest twist to a feud over who should lead one of Canada's biggest telecoms companies, reports Reuters.

The aggressive move late Thursday by Edward Rogers, the only son of late founder Ted Rogers, comes just hours after the company's board voted to remove him as chairman while family members fight among themselves for control of the company.

Rogers will remain a director, the company said. He also chairs the Rogers Control Trust, the family-controlled entity that holds voting control in Rogers Communications.

He proposed the removal of five directors, including John MacDonald who replaced him as chair, with his own candidates, saying that as the chair of the trust he "believes that it would be in the best interests of RCI to reconstitute the Board".

Rogers' exit adds another layer of uncertainty for the company after he attempted to replace Chief Executive Officer Joe Natale with the company's now former chief financial officer in late September. The move put him at odds with his sisters and mother, all of whom are fellow board directors and said they supported Natale.

The family spat, rare in the Canadian corporate landscape, sparked a review of Rogers' corporate governance, with experts saying the tussle highlighted the need for strong independent directors.

Earlier on Thursday, Natale told analysts that the board meeting to consider third-quarter earnings had "a very strong, collaborative and thoughtful discussion" on the future of the business, including the C$20 billion ($16.2 billion) bid for smaller rival Shaw Communications.

That deal would further boost its position in Canada's highly concentrated telecoms market and has attracted scrutiny from multiple government regulators over whether it will decrease competition.

On Tuesday, Edward Rogers said there was "room for improvement" in the company's long-term performance following a report he had held talks with potential candidates to replace board members.

Rogers added 175,000 subscribers who pay a monthly bill as demand rebounded on easing pandemic-led travel restrictions, while wireless service revenue increased 3%.

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