Internal Rogers power struggle failed to oust CEO Joe Natale: report

Company chairperson Edward Rogers allegedly backed former CFO Tony Staffieri in bid to replace Joe Natale as CEO

Toronto-based national carrier Rogers saw a dramatic power struggle that ended with the abrupt departure of chief financial officer (CFO) Tony Staffieri as company chairperson Edward Rogers tried unsuccessfully to unseat CEO Joe Natale.

The Globe and Mail details the full saga (which is well worth the read) based on information from sources within the company. The Globe did not identify the sources since they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

According to the report, tensions between Staffieri and Natale brewed for years. Staffieri joined Rogers in 2012 and developed a close relationship with the company’s chairperson. Further, Staffieri reportedly had ambitions to become the CEO and frequently butted heads with Natale about the company’s strategic direction.

After returning from the company’s most recent Christmas break, Natale allegedly began searching for a new CFO to replace Staffieri — a search interrupted by Rogers’ proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications, which happened in March. At the same time, Edward Rogers reportedly was trying to remove Natale from the CEO position and transition Staffieri into it. Rogers was also reportedly working to replace other members of the executive team, many of which were loyal to Natale.

The sources claim an emergency board meeting was held on September 26th. Melinda Hixon-Rogers, deputy chair of the company and Rogers’ sister, reportedly opposed Rogers’ plan — the overwhelming majority of the board backed Natale and his team. Staffieri’s departure came three days later.

In a statement to The Globe, a Rogers company spokesperson said:

“As with any similar transition, the recent CFO change was voted on and approved by the majority of the board of directors. The majority of the board has full confidence in Joe’s leadership and strategic vision for Rogers as we look forward to the transformational combination of Rogers and Shaw and continue to focus on delivering long-term value for our customers and shareholders.”

The Globe also detailed the company’s ongoing struggle with executive turnover — that alone is worth taking the time to read if internal politics at Rogers is at all interesting to you.

Industry analysts told The Globe that Staffieri’s departure in the midst of the Shaw acquisition was strange and unexpected. The proposed acquisition still requires approval from several regulatory bodies, including the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and the Competition Bureau.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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