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Rogers names Staffieri interim CEO as chair stamps authority after family feud -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: FILEPHOTO: A general view of Rogers Building in Toronto Ontario Canada, October 22nd, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) –The Chairman of Rogers Communications Inc (NYSE:) tightened his hold on the Canadian business with the appointment on Tuesday of Tony Staffieri, his trusted confidante, as interim chief executive. He replaces Joe Natale with whom he was in a dispute.

The development comes after the telecommunications company earlier this month reinstated ousted Chairman Edward Rogers after a court backed his petition to constitute a new board.

The company said Natale has left the company, effective Tuesday, and the search for a permanent chief executive officer is on.

After a tumultuous feud within the founding family, Natale’s departure added another twist to turbulent weeks at Canada’s largest wireless carrier. This led to a bitter fight for control.

The question of the CEO was the catalyst for a rare public protest in Canada’s corporate world.

Analysts raised doubts about Rogers’ C$20 billion bid ($16.1 billion), for Shaw Communications (NYSE) – the largest takeover.

After Edward Rogers (the only child of Ted Rogers founder) tried to remove Natale as CEO saying that he was unsure of Natale’s abilities to manage the Shaw merger, the dispute began in September.

Edward Rogers had hoped to replace Natale by Staffieri, who was the former chief financial officer. But he didn’t win the support of the board and Staffieri quit the company. Edward Rogers tried to replace Natale with Staffieri, but he failed to win board support. He was also at odds for his mom and sisters who are both company directors.

Rogers’ chairman Edward Rogers was defeated in the power battle and removed. But he petitioned the British Columbia Supreme Court to validate the new slate of directors he had appointed, and the court ruled in his favour.

Edward Rogers stated in a statement that Tony is one of the best-respected and most experienced telecommunications executives and was key to the Shaw deal.

Staffieri is a veteran of the financial, telecoms and media sectors with more than 30+ years experience, nine of which were as chief financial officer at Rogers. Staffieri was previously employed by BCE (NYSE:) Inc.

Robert Gemmell of Rogers Communications stated that the board sought to form a constructive working relationship with Natale to allow him to remain the Shaw CEO following the Shaw merger. The statement said that Natale was forced to leave because they could not agree on a mutually acceptable arrangement.

This year, shares fell 2% due to the battle for control in the boardroom. That compares with a jump of 17.6% in BCE, and a rise of 14.5% in Telus Corp (NYSE:) Corp which are both competitors to Rogers.

Rogers has a unique ownership structure that gives it enormous power. A Rogers Control Trust advisory committee is made up of 10 members who are close to the founder. This includes his four children and wife, as well as several family and friends. Rogers’ Class A voting share capital is 97.5% owned by the trust.

According to the company, the Shaw merger is moving forward and Rogers and Shaw teams will be meeting Canada’s telecom regulator on November 22.

The Globe and Mail had previously reported on the story.

($1 = 1.2557 Canadian dollars)