Rogers Communications Inc. denied that it owes money to its former chief executive officer and instead accused him of breaking his contract.
(Bloomberg) — Rogers Communications Inc. denied that it owes money to its former chief executive officer and instead accused him of breaking his contract.
Joe Natale breached his fiduciary duty to the telecommunications firm and “improperly received” at least C$15 million ($11 million) after negotiating an enriched severance package that he wasn’t entitled to, the company said in a court filings.
In a lawsuit last month, Natale alleged that the Toronto-based company, which dismissed him as CEO in 2021, still owes him more than C$24 million.
Natale, on learning that September 2021 that he was about to be ousted as CEO, “sought support to significantly enhance his own employment arrangements” and dump Chief Financial Officer Tony Staffieri, who was in line to replace him, according to Rogers’ statement of defense and countersuit.
The legal spat stems from a dispute that erupted among members of the Rogers clan, which controls Canada’s largest wireless and cable provider. It exposed fissures within one of the country’s wealthiest families, which also owns television and radio stations, Canada’s only Major League Baseball team and a major stake in Toronto’s pro hockey and basketball clubs.
Natale was in charge when Rogers Communications made a C$20 billion offer to acquire rival Shaw Communications Inc. in March 2021, but months later Chairman Edward Rogers soured on the CEO and made a play to get rid of him. Edward’s mother, Loretta Rogers, and two of his sisters, Melinda Rogers-Hixon and Martha Rogers, fought back on Natale’s behalf, in alliance with several other board members.
Edward Rogers sued to establish control over the board and dump five independent directors. He won in November 2021, and Natale was gone less than two weeks later, replaced by Staffieri.
Read More: Rogers Family Accused of Using ‘Succession’ Star to Smear Ex-CEO
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