Former Rogers CEO, Joe Natale, sues company for $24 million

Natale says he was wrongfully dismissed

Warning: the article contains language some may find offensive.

Joe Natale, the former CEO of Rogers, is suing the company he once led.

Natale was removed as CEO in 2021 after a public struggle that brought the company’s current CEO, Tony Staffieri, to power. Natale is suing for $24 million for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract.

Natale also alleges the company’s chairman, Edward Rogers, and his wife, Suzanne Rogers, attempted to “tarnish his reputation” following the ousting.

The former executive alleges they hired Brian Cox, who plays the family patriarch in Succession, to create a video congratulating the chairman on his “real-life Succession.”

“Congratulations on your real-life succession at Rogers Communications. And also having Joe Natale to the fuck off. Well done Edward. Congratulations,” Cox said in the 19-second video.

The fictional show has been likened to the family drama surrounding the changes in Rogers’ executive leadership.

According to The Globe and Mail, the telecom giant made a counter statement saying Natale took part in “serious misconduct” by giving himself “excessive compensation” that wasn’t approved.

A Rogers spokesperson told the publication Natale was terminated with cause from his position following an independent investigation, which he was aware of.

“As a result of an independent investigation, we made the necessary decision to terminate him for cause. The investigation reveals that in October 2021, Mr. Natale knew that steps were being taken to make changes to the board and this would end his tenure as CEO. Before his departure, he awarded himself excessive compensation without proper board approval. This, and other actions, were a serious breach of his fiduciary duties as a chief executive officer and director of a public company.”

“Mr. Natale was aware of the investigation and given an opportunity to respond. He understood the implications of its findings and the lawsuit is an attempt to get ahead of the investigation. While we would have preferred to deal with this matter privately, Mr. Natale has left us with no choice. The company will defend itself vigorously against his baseless claim and will file a counterclaim to address his improper behaviour.”

Bill Walker, Natale’s spokesperson, said, “it is unfortunate that Rogers will not honour its commitments made to Mr. Natale.”

It’s worth noting that Natale isn’t the only former executive suing the telecom giant. Rogers’ former chief regulatory officer Ted Woodhead is also suing for wrongful dismissal, though Rogers says Woodhead lost his job over “inadequacies in his performance.”

Updated August 18th, 2023, 1:13pm ET: The article has been updated with a full statement from Rogers.

Via: The Globe and Mail, Canadian Press