Rogers Communication Inc.’s veteran chief financial officer (CFO) Tony Staffieri suddenly departed the company on September 29, during the ongoing $26 billion CAD deal to acquire Shaw Communications Inc.
According to The Globe and Mail, Staffieri was actually relieved of his position after a power struggle for the title of chief executive officer (CEO) against the incumbent, Joe Natale, which also involved chairman Edward Rogers and the company’s board of directors.
The publication’s sources close to the matter have revealed that chairman Edward Rogers, who went to great lengths to recruit him in the first place, wanted to replace Natale with Staffieri.
Staffieri has been with the company since 2012, and tensions between him and Natale have reportedly been brewing ever since the CEO came on board.
According to the sources, Natale was working on hiring another CFO to replace Staffieri, and Edward Rogers consequently called an emergency board meeting on September 26 to try and oust Natale instead.
During the board meeting, Melinda Rogers-Hixon, deputy chair of the family-controlled telco and Edward’s sister, strongly opposed his plan. The majority of the board and the Rogers family sided with Natale, and Staffieri stepped down as CFO just three days later.
Scott Davidson, a Rogers Communication spokesperson, said the company is “disappointed that confidential discussions at the board level were shared publicly.”
“As with any similar transition, the recent CFO change was voted on and approved by the majority of the board of directors. The majority of the board has full confidence in Joe’s leadership and strategic vision for Rogers as we look forward to the transformational combination of Rogers and Shaw and continue to focus on delivering long-term value for our customers and shareholders,” added Davidson.
Rogers Communication has had worryingly high executive turnover since the company’s founder, Ted Rogers, died in 2008.
An internal power struggle and the induction of a new executive at the highest level are especially troublesome for Rogers Communication at this time, as the telco ventures to defend its acquisition of Canada’s fourth-largest wireless provider not only against the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), but also mounting opposition from Canadians.
The Competition Bureau is now seeking public input from Canadians on the Rogers-Shaw deal, and information can be confidentially shared with the regulatory body by October 29, 2021.