Edward Rogers convened a meeting of a newly reconstituted board of directors of Rogers Communications Inc. Sunday and announced he was chair of the board — again.
Rogers was removed as chair of the company’s board last week amid a bitter family battle, but claimed his other position as chair of a family trust that controls the company gave him the right to swap out existing directors for his own hand-selected group.
He said he removed and replaced five independent directors and met with the rival board on Sunday evening. That board then announced Edward Rogers had been elected chair and that he plans to launch court proceedings to confirm the legitimacy of the steps he has taken.
Before the meeting, his mother Loretta Rogers and two sisters Martha Rogers and Melinda Rogers-Hixon, along with the five independent directors he purported to fire, issued their own statement saying they remain the “duly elected” members of the company’s board and, “No other group of individuals has any authority to purport to act as the board.”
The duelling statements follow days of confusion over who is actually in power at the telecom and media giant.
“I know that the events of the last few weeks have been challenging and have distracted you from the important work you do,” CEO Joe Natale said in a memo to employees Sunday evening, reiterating that there have been “absolutely no changes to our board, management team, or in my role as CEO.”
Earlier in the day, Martha Rogers struck out publicly at Edward for the second time this week in a series of tweets that referred to her brother’s “pretend ‘board meeting,’ ” stating that it wasn’t legal and that she was “going to fight like hell for the 24,000 employees, 10M+ customers & fans.”
“No compromises, and this time the good guys will win. #OldGuardDown,” tweeted Rogers.
Martha Rogers has stated publicly that she believes her brother should resign from the family trust. After his announcement Sunday night she said on Twitter, “I see Ed has appointed himself the Chairman. LOL. This should be taken as seriously as if he appointed himself the King of England.”
The push to remove Edward from the Rogers board, led by Loretta, reportedly came after he tried to replace Natale with his preferred candidate — Tony Staffieri, the company’s former chief financial officer — in September. Edward has claimed publicly that the business could be doing better.
In a statement released in advance of the meeting, Loretta Rogers called it an “invalid meeting” and said it “changes absolutely nothing.”
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“The Rogers board remains properly constituted with John MacDonald as chair,” wrote Rogers. John MacDonald, who has been on the company’s board since 2012, assumed the role of chair on Thursday.
“Edward unfortunately continues to proceed down a misguided and miscalculated path which leads nowhere productive and puts his own interests ahead of those of Rogers employees, customers and shareholders,” wrote Loretta. “He should stop immediately, as his behaviour simply serves to underscore his seemingly wanton disregard for good governance.”
In a statement released Thursday, Edward said: “While I am disappointed by recent steps taken by certain (Rogers) directors to remove me as board chair, I am confident this action will be reviewed and addressed by the newly constituted board,” adding that he is focused on “securing approval for the Shaw transaction.”
Martha blamed her brother and the new board for not “thinking about the impact their instability is causing tens of thousands of people,” in a tweet on Sunday.
And she went on to suggest her father, Ted Rogers, who founded the company, would have fired Edward, along with Phil Lind and Alan Horn, who are directors on the public company board as well as members of the family control trust, and who support Edward.
“My father trusted to ‘do the right thing’ & would have fired them in a heartbeat for making his biggest fear a reality. Money, power & control have gone to their heads.”
Rogers’s first series of tweets began shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday morning, saying she was having trouble sleeping because the fate of the company’s 24,000 employees was weighing on her mind.
One of the tweets says that her father put her on the board as “a check and balance to ensure nothing this insane occurs. This is for you Dad,” she wrote.
A couple of tweets suggested that she had damaging information about Edward that she would make public, including “the truth about his Trump scandal 5 mos ago, their involvement threatening us to suppress it or else they’ll be “severe personal repercussions” (and they very much can).”
Rogers also said that “We’ll spend every penny defending the company, employees & Ted’s wishes, nothing you can do will deter us. Bring. It. On.”
She was referring in the tweet to her mother, Loretta, who is 82.
Patty Winsa is a Toronto-based data reporter for the Star. Reach her via email: [email protected]
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