Rogers Communications says Joe Natale has left, Tony Staffieri named interim CEO

Rogers President and CEO Joe Natale attends the company's AGM in Toronto on Thursday, April 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Rogers Communications Inc. says Joe Natale has left as president and CEO.

The company said in a release late Tuesday that he has been replaced by Tony Staffieri in the interim as it searches for a permanent CEO to drive its future growth including the integration with Shaw Communications.

It said that Staffieri will be a candidate for the position.

Edward Rogers, chairman of Rogers Communications, said Staffieri has over thirty years of telecom, financial, media and sports experience, including over nine years as the Chief Financial Officer of Rogers.

Before joining Rogers, he held senior positions at Bell Canada Enterprises, Celestica International and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The company said the Shaw transaction continues to move forward and on Monday the Rogers and Shaw teams, including Edward Rogers, will attend the CRTC public hearing.

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READ MORE: Rivals call for pause on Shaw deal hearings amid Rogers family drama

“Tony is amongst the most highly regarded and seasoned telecommunications executives in the industry and was a key part of the Shaw deal,” said Edward Rogers in the release.

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“His incredible work ethic, track record for results, focus on long-term strategic growth, driving an excellent experience for our customers and employees, and strong operational execution will serve us well.”

In a statement, Edward Rogers’ mother and two sisters, who are also board members, said they are very disappointed that “Edward has driven the termination of Joe Natale as RCI’s CEO.”

“Joe is a world-class telecom leader, and as we have always said, we believe he’s the right person to lead RCI as chief executive,” said Loretta Rogers, Melinda Rogers-Hixon, and Martha Rogers.

“The three of us voted against this misguided decision, which creates great uncertainty for RCI and its employees, customers, sports fans and shareholders, not to mention the Shaw transaction.”

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Earlier this month, Rogers Communications said it won’t appeal a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that upheld Edward Rogers’ reconstituted board of directors.

READ MORE: Rogers will not appeal B.C. Supreme Court ruling that upheld board overhaul

The son of the company’s founder used his authority as head of the family trust — which holds 97.5 per cent of voting shares — to replace several board members with his own hand-picked directors after he was ousted as chair.

His new board then re-elected him to its helm.

Edward Rogers’ mother and two sisters opposed the moves, saying they went against the company’s governance practices.

He took the case to the Supreme Court in B.C., where the company is incorporated.

Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick affirmed Edward Rogers’ authority to make changes to the board without holding a shareholder meeting.

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