Canadian Telecom Giant Rogers Mired In Bizarre Executive Power Feud That Began With A Butt Dial
from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept
You might remember Canadian telecom giant Rogers. The company routinely found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during the net neutrality wars, after it repeatedly tried to abuse its gatekeeper power to disadvantage other companies. Rogers is like most heavily consolidated regional telecom monopolies: a lack of competition or competent regulatory oversight both created and protects the company thanks to relentless lobbying. As a result, the company never is really challenged, and is consistently allowed to mindlessly merge and grow larger and larger and larger as harms are dismissed.
But there’s been trouble in paradise recently as the company attempts to shuffle around its executive leadership teams. It began with Rogers CEO Joe Natale learning he was going to be fired thanks to an internal coup attempt only revealed thanks to a… butt dial from his CFO. It only got thornier from there.
Ted Rogers died in 2008, and different family factions have been battling for control ever since. Ted’s son Roger was behind the covert effort to replace Natale with Rogers’ CFO Tony Staffieri. Loretta Rogers and her daughters Martha Rogers and Melinda Rogers-Hixon publicly backed Natale after the takeover attempt was revealed. The whole thing has since devolved into an absolute (but highly entertaining) mess:
“Two separate groups of directors have proclaimed themselves the rightful stewards of Rogers Communications, a sprawling C$30bn telecommunications and entertainment empire with interests in media, professional hockey, basketball, baseball, football and soccer.
On Friday, a Canadian court ruled that the faction led by Edward Rogers, son of the company?s late founder, had the power to legally replace directors without a shareholder meeting, granting the eldest son immense power over the country?s largest wireless carrier in a ruling viewed as a blow to shareholders? rights.”
It’s kind of a bizarre fusion of HBO’s Succession and Game of Thrones, albeit with fewer beheadings (so far). Toronto?s mayor, John Tory, was brought in to try and mitigate the ongoing feud, but that fell apart when it was revealed that he’d been getting $80,000 (US) in annual compensation from the board for the last seven years. Keep in mind this is all going on as the company attempts to finalize its $26 billion merger with Canadian telecom giant Shaw, a merger that will be probably approved because in North America, mindless rubber stamping of harmful consolidation is kind of what we do.