Melinda Rogers-Hixon Wants to ‘Work Together’ With Company’s New Leadership
“It’s not even up to us whether we want to fix [our relationship] or not – I would argue we don’t have a choice. We have to find a way to work together in a constructive manner, where all voices are heard,” said Melinda Rogers-Hixon in her recent sitdown with The Globe and Mail.
The Rogers sister’s interview comes a few weeks after her family and independent directors on Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI)’s board found themselves on the losing end of a power struggle against Edward Rogers, chair of both the board and the family trust that controls the telecommunications company.
The Rogers family split into two sides after Edward Rogers attempted to replace RCI CEO Joe Natale, finding him to be underperforming, with the company’s CFO, Tony Staffieri, in September. The power struggle ended with Staffieri being fired and Mr. Rogers’ removal from his position as chairman of the board.
Following his dismissal, Edward Rogers created a Board of Directors of his own and took to the courts, petitioning them to rule on the legitimacy of his board vs. the acting RCI board. The courts ruled in favour of Edward Rogers, giving Ms. Rogers-Hixon’s brother control over the company.
Since then, Mr. Rogers has replaced former CEO Joe Natale with Tony Staffieri and shuffled top executives to fulfill his vision of new leadership at Rogers Communications.
Even though Ms. Rogers-Hixon believes Joe Natale was the best CEO the company has had since her father died in 2008 — after all, he did lay the groundwork for RCI’s proposed $26 billion CAD takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. despite a competing offer from rival BCE Inc., she says she’s ready to bury the hatchet and work towards a fruitful future with Edward Rogers’ revamped leadership.
Ms. Rogers-Hixon likes to think of the whole situation as dealing with a new teacher. “You like the old one. Well, you’re still going to have to work with the new one,” she said.
“I hope that the board meets me there and we’re able to work effectively together.”
Ms. Rogers-Hixon also stressed the importance of reconciliation for the good of the next generation of the company’s leaders — the siblings’ children.
“I don’t want to create an environment that teaches the next generation that it’s okay to pit each other against each other,” said Ms. Rogers-Hixon.
“It’s really important to set the example and set up a structure that encourages them and makes them want to work collaboratively, to be the best stewards they can possibly be. That’s what’s important to me.”
Read Melinda Rogers-Hixon’s full interview over at The Globe and Mail.