Edward Rogers voted as Rogers board chairman amid family disputes – .

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Edward Rogers voted as Rogers board chairman amid family disputes – .


John A. MacDonald, a member of the board since 2012, “has assumed the role of chairman of the board,” the statement said.

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The directors of Rogers Communications Inc. voted to oust Edward Rogers, son of the company founder, as chairman of the board after a few hectic weeks that began with his attempt to replace chief executive Joe Natale in the part of a major management reshuffle, according to close sources. to the blackboard.

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In a brief statement released Thursday evening, Rogers Communications confirmed that Edward Rogers “has stepped down as chairman effective today,” although he remains on the board as a director.

John A. MacDonald, a member of the board since 2012, who has also served as a lead director and chairman of the corporate governance committee “has assumed the role of chairman of the board,” the statement said.

“This has been a difficult time for the Company and I would like to reaffirm on behalf of the majority of the Board our full support and confidence in the management team and the CEO of Rogers Communications,” said MacDonald.

In an initial attempt to quell the business disruption, which has divided the Rogers family, the board created an executive oversight committee to “establish clear protocols” for managing interactions between senior management and the president. from the administration board.

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The head office of Rogers Communications Inc in Toronto on November 6, 2016. Photo by Chris Helgren / Reuters Files

The new three-member committee – whose members included Rogers’ sister, Vice President Melinda Rogers-Hixon, MacDonald, a long-time industry leader who has held positions at BCE Inc. and Allstream Business Inc. , and another independent director, John Clappison – was made public in the management discussion accompanying Rogers’ third quarter financial report on Thursday, but had been in the works for weeks and came in the midst of information that Edward is now seeking to replace at least some of the independent directors of the company.

Sources familiar with the situation say Edward obtained a list of the company’s shareholders, which would be needed to pursue the board changes. Independent directors had opposed his handover, due to uncertainty over whether Edward was acting with the backing of the voting trust through which his company controls Rogers Communications, the sources said. Directors also expressed concern that the ongoing disruption is hurting the company and could hamper its planned $ 26 billion purchase (including debt) from rival Shaw Communications Inc., the sources said. .

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The dispute has divided the Rogers family, Edward’s mother Loretta Rogers, and sisters Martha Rogers and Rogers-Hixon opposing his plan to oust Natale.

Sources familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it said the advisory board of Rogers Control Trust, the entity through which the family controls the business, had discussions on whether whether conditions should be imposed on how Edward, who is chairman of the trust, can vote the Class A shares it holds.

It was not immediately clear how his departure as president of Rogers would affect those discussions, or if he would end efforts to reshape the board.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Edward had produced a list of preferred nominees to replace the independent directors of the company. According to the report, the list contained five names, including former CTV chief media officer Ivan Fecan and Jan Innes, longtime communications and government relations advisor at Rogers. She remains a director of the Rogers Group of Funds, which supports film and television financing, according to her LinkedIn page.

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Rogers Communications CEO Joe Natale addresses shareholders at Rogers Annual General Meeting in Toronto on April 20, 2018. Photo by Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press Files

Natale, who has said little since Edward tried to replace him with CFO Tony Staffieri, answered questions about the dispute in a conference call with analysts after the company’s financial statements were released Thursday morning.

“I have strong and unequivocal support from the board of directors to lead the strategy of the company,” he said, adding that he “would continue to drive operational initiatives … and continue to drive improvements and momentum you see ”.

He told analysts the corporate drama hasn’t changed his perspective on rival Shaw Communications’ transformational takeover proposal.

“I feel as comfortable as I have been in the past with the Shaw transaction, both in terms of our ability to get it approved and the synergies behind it,” Natale said.

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I have strong and unequivocal support from the board of directors to lead the strategy of the company

Joe Natale

Rogers revenue increased slightly in the third quarter compared to a year ago. The Toronto-based telecommunications company reported sales of $ 3.67 billion for the three months ended September 30, driven by growth in wireless business and falling churn rates. Rogers added 175,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers, all in the cell phone category, which helped increase wireless revenues by 3%.

At the same time, the cable division’s revenue grew by 3%, as more and more internet customers switched to higher levels of speed and usage.

The company also experienced its lowest churn rate on record, he said in his statement. David Fuller, president of Rogers Wireless attributed it to improvements in basic management and in retail spaces and call centers. In addition, the move of more customers to unlimited data plans has forced them to stay. “The final point I would like to highlight is the hardware and significant network investments we have made, improving the quality, capacity and coverage of our 5G network,” Fuller told analysts.

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There is still a lot of ground for Rogers to regain despite the combined average revenue per user increasing four percent sequentially. The measure will increase as the economy reopens and people can resume travel, resulting in roaming charges for telecommunications, Fuller said. The company is “on the order of 50%” of 2019 roaming levels, he added, despite year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter growth.

Although it faces some supply chain issues for its cable business and mobile phone producers such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Apply Inc., which are facing chip shortages, Natale said the company is well suited to weather global delays for its 5G. network extension. “We stored and built up an inventory to make sure we didn’t have a problem,” he said, adding that when deploying 4G, Rogers installed 5G radios on its towers.

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“As board and family discussions continue to unfold in the media, Rogers third quarter results show significant signs of improvement on many key metrics,” wrote Vince Valentini, analyst at TD Securities, in a note to clients.

Net income fell 4% in the quarter to $ 490 million due to lower adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which fell 2% to $ 1.6 billion , in large part due to a decline in the company’s media sector. Diluted earnings per share fell seven percent to $ 0.94.

Rogers shares closed 1.75 percent lower to close the trading day at $ 60.19.

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