Joe Natale out as Rogers CEO

Tony Staffieri takes over leadership ahead of a CRTC hearing regarding the Shaw takeover.
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It’s official: Joe Natale has left his post as CEO of Rogers.

Announced late Tuesday and effective immediately, Tony Staffieri, Rogers’ former chief financial officer, will step into Natale’s role on an interim basis.

The company said in its statement that the board is currently searching for a permanent CEO, though Staffieri will be among the candidates.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Rogers Communications through a critical time in its history and remain excited about the transformational potential of the Shaw transaction,” Natale said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to build a team of such extraordinary character and ability and I wish each of our 24,000 team members continued success and good fortune in the future.”

Rogers chair Edward Rogers had previously attempted to replace Natale with Staffieri in September, citing concerns with the former’s performance as CEO. When the move was blocked by the rest of the board, it kicked off an increasingly public boardroom power struggle.

Edward Rogers was removed from his position as chair, but then used his position as chair of the Rogers Family Trust – which controls roughly 97% of the company’s shares – to draft a resolution replacing five of the company’s independent directors. That created a situation where the company effectively had two boards claiming to be the rightful one: a new board that re-instated Edward Rogers as company chair, and the previous one, which disputed the legality of Edward Rogers’ resolution.

Earlier this month, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick ruled that Edward Rogers’ move was in fact allowed, settling the question of the rightful board.

In their own statement, board members Loretta Rogers, Martha Rogers and Melinda Rogers-Hixon (who are also Edward Rogers’ mother and two sisters) said they voted against removing Natale, as it creates uncertainty for the company and the proposed takeover of Shaw.

Natale joined Rogers in late 2016 when he replaced Guy Lawrence as CEO, not long after being let go as the CEO at Telus. Staffieri had been chief financial officer at Rogers for nine years, but left the company after Edward Rogers’ first attempt to replace Natale failed.

The move comes ahead of a CRTC hearing into the Rogers-Shaw acquisition on Nov. 22. The hearing is meant to review whether or not Rogers should be allowed to acquire Shaw’s broadcasting distribution business and cable networks, though competitors Bell and Telus, as well as several consumer advocacy groups, had previously requested the hearing be postponed due to the leadership uncertainty.