Rogers family drama is turning into Toronto's own real-life soap opera
Toronto's latest corporate drama is quickly becoming a real-world one per-center soap opera, and people should get their popcorn ready because this one's got a little bit of everything.
There's a scorned sibling going off on social media, details of a (thankfully) thwarted attempt to pass on perhaps the most beloved sports executive in Toronto history, a planned ousting revealed through an accidental butt dial, and that's only just scratching the surface.
On Thursday, Rogers Communications removed (now former) chairman and heir to the company, namesake Edward Rogers, after it was revealed that he intended to unilaterally remove the majority of the company's independent directors and replace them with his own nominees.
But there is so much more to the story.
Since the day after the news dropped, Martha Rogers, Rogers' director and sister of Edward Rogers, has been dishing our bombs on Twitter, calling out her brother and others and demanding his resignation in a barrage of tweets that didn't let up all weekend.
Like in a bad movie, Ed & his Old Guard literally meet in dark boardrooms. All men. All white. All old. They think they are masters of the universe instead of thinking about the impact their instability is causing tens of thousands of people. Not this time. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 24, 2021
There are honestly too many good ones to embed, and it sure seems like her Twitter campaign isn't over yet.
Enjoy your pretend “board meeting”, Ed. Here’s your problem: it’s not legal, so I’m going to fight like hell for the 24,000 employees, 10M+ customers & ⚾🏀🏒🏈 fans. No compromises, and this time the good guys will win. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 24, 2021
Other family members seem clearly on the side of Martha Rogers, including matriarch Loretta Rogers and sister/Deputy Chair Melinda Rogers-Hixon.
I see Ed has appointed himself the Chairman. LOL. This should be taken as seriously as if he appointed himself the King of England. #OldGuardDown— Martha Rogers (@MarthaLRogers) October 25, 2021
The drama includes some comedic elements too.
It turns out that Joe Natale, president and CEO of Rogers Communications, reportedly learned of plans to unseat him through a butt-dialed call, overhearing Rogers' CFO Tony Staffieri and Chair Edward Rogers allegedly discussing the move.
Natale is among the handful of Rogers executives who have released public statements, which seem more geared toward protecting stock value than speaking to the backroom drama.
"I, together with my management team at Rogers, share a deep and resolute commitment to all our shareholders and hold the trust they place in us as paramount," said Natale, continuing to explain what amounts to basically nothing in a carefully polished statement.
A statement on behalf of eight Rogers board members reads, "We unequivocally support Joe Natale as CEO and support his management team."
The statement continues to say that the members represent the majority of the board, and that "no other group of individuals has any authority to purport to act as the Board of Directors of Rogers Communications Inc."
And if the Rogers family hasn't done enough to anger Toronto over the years, it's certainly not a good look for them that the Toronto Star is reporting Edward Rogers was the lone holdout in contract negotiations to re-sign Masai Ujiri as head of the Toronto Raptors.
Ujiri was ultimately given the contract he deserved, but the episode serves as a window into the bean-counting decisions that can make or break sports franchises.
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