Natale out as CEO of Rogers? Experts surveyed by the Star predict it is, it’s just a matter of time

Business and governance experts predict major changes to come in Rogers’ executive team; It’s just a matter of time.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court of British Columbia affirmed the power of the company’s president, Edward Rogers, to remake the board of directors of Rogers Communications Inc., allowing him to replace five independent directors with his allies.

The ruling paves the way for Rogers to follow through on a plan he has pursued for months to replace CEO Joe Natale and rebuild the top ranks of the company to his liking.

But with a boardroom dispute that has divided the Rogers family and spooked shareholders, corporate governance experts say the company may want to avoid personnel changes in the short term to avoid its crisis from PR continues to spiral.

“Edward Rogers is free to do what he wants, but given the confusion, some of the executives may now have longer lives,” said Richard Leblanc, a corporate governance expert and professor at the University of York.

The board, including the Rogers family, has been fighting over the future of Natale and his executive team for months. Loretta Rogers, the widow of the late Ted Rogers and a director of the company, previously urged her son to stay with Natale after discovering his plans to remove the CEO and replace him with former CFO Tony Staffieri in September.

Loretta was joined by her daughters, Melinda Rogers-Hixon and Martha Rogers, along with five independent directors of companies whom Edward later removed from the board.

Natale first became aware of Edward’s plans when Staffieri mistakenly dialed him on a call, who was discussing plans to remove Natale and other executives.

As of Monday, following the court ruling that allowed Edward to reconstitute the board, Natale and his 11-person executive team remained in their positions with the company.

Natale still has “the support of the board,” Edward wrote in a statement Friday, but did not say that Natale will remain with the company.

“I would be surprised if there are no negotiations underway at this time, with Natale and other members of senior management, to replace the executive team,” said Richard Powers, associate professor at the Rotman School of Management.

During the conversation Natale overheard, Staffieri allegedly discussed the purge of nine other members of the executive team, several of whom joined the company during Natale’s tenure.

The relationship has become so strained that staying with the company would be “incredibly difficult,” Powers said.

“From a governance perspective, the relationship is completely broken,” Powers said. “Natale knows Edward’s board doesn’t want him on the team. Other executives know that Edward doesn’t want them on the team. How long do you stay in that environment? “

Most executives have not spoken publicly about their plans at the company. But in an affidavit filed last week, Rogers wireless business president David Fuller hinted that he would not want to be part of a new management team designed by Edward.

“The reason I joined Rogers was because of the opportunity to work with Joe Natale,” Fuller wrote. “My highest preference would be to continue to do so.”

Leblanc says the board may seek to retain Natale and the executives longer, at least until the $ 26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc. is completed, to allay investor fears and ease tensions within the company. meeting room between Edward’s allies and Natale’s defenders.

“Right now, Rogers really needs the board to join the company. That includes disputed family members. That’s what will help the executive team and the shareholders of the company, ”Leblanc said.

But Powers says this could give Edward one more reason to topple the management team.

“The sooner they can enter a new administration, that they are aligned with Edward and the board, the easier it will be to move on from this,” Powers said.

“Rogers still has a business to run and cannot operate with a broken relationship between the CEO and the board.”

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