Edward Rogers Proposed $51 Million Severance for Rogers CEO Joe Natale

The drama that has enveloped Rogers Communication Inc. (RCI) and the Rogers family that controls it has now escalated to the courtroom, and continues to deliver more tidbits and plot twists.

Former RCI chairman Edward Rogers was dismissed from his position in the aftermath of a power struggle for the CEO position, but has since conjured a Board of Directors of his own and is now petitioning B.C. Supreme Court to assert its legal validity.

On Tuesday, Mr. Rogers filed an affidavit with a British Columbia court claiming his family (and other board members) initially supported his proposal to replace CEO Joe Natale with ex-CFO Tony Staffieri, but pulled their backing at the last minute.

According to BNN Bloomberg, Mr. Rogers’ court filings went on to reveal not only an exuberant severance package he had proposed for Natale, but also that he had been eyeing competent candidates for the leadership roles he planned on shaking up.

The filings suggest Mr. Rogers’s proposal to remove Joe Natale as CEO was accompanied by a total of $51 million in severance and unvested equity. The package included a $10-million bonus, half to be paid upfront and the other half after RCI closed the Shaw Communications acquisition.

The proposed severance package was later altered to include a $4 million bonus upon completion of the Shaw deal, and a $20 million lump sum as part of a consulting agreement between Natale and RCI.

Minutes from a board meeting that were included in the filings reveal that Mr. Rogers planned on nominating company director and former Quebecor Inc. CEO Robert Depatie to head RCI’s cable division as Chief Operating Officer, and was also looking at promoting Dave Fuller, president of Rogers’ wireless division, to the role of COO.

Finally, the filings also allege that RCI intentionally delayed handing over a list of all of the company’s shareholders to Mr. Rogers when he asked for it on October 4.

For a week after the request was submitted, RCI didn’t respond, citing technical difficulties, and later asked Mr. Rogers for an additional $4,000 on top of the $1,000 he had already submitted to sequester the documents.

After what one of Mr. Rogers’ lawyers called “a game of cat and mouse,” he finally obtained the shareholder records on October 20.