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Former Rogers CEO Joe Natale sues for wrongful dismissal, looking for $24M

Former Rogers CEO Joe Natale is suing the business for wrongful dismissal and breach of agreement, alleging Rogers chairman Edward Rogers carried out “malicious, higher-handed, and oppressive carry out.”

In a statement of assert filed with the Ontario Excellent Courtroom of Justice on Thursday, Natale accused Edward and his spouse Suzanne Rogers of trying to “tarnish his popularity” next his ouster in November 2021.

But Rogers called its former main executive’s promises “baseless” and alleged Natale “engaged in really serious misconduct” while serving at the company’s helm. It claimed as a final result, it has now terminated Natale for lead to.

In court docket filings, Natale accused Edward and Suzanne Rogers of employing actor Brian Cox of HBO’s Succession to make a “demeaning” video about him and allegedly distributing it to spouse and children customers, friends and colleagues, right before it was finally noted on by media.

The online video provided a message congratulating Edward Rogers on his “true-everyday living succession at Rogers Communications” and utilised an expletive to describe Natale’s departure from the firm.

He claimed he and his company Natale Industries Inc. are entitled to a blended $24 million, which include $4 million from an unpaid reward related to the closing of Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw Interaction Inc. in April.

None of the promises in Natale’s go well with have been tested in court docket.

Boardroom struggle

Natale’s departure from the Toronto-primarily based telecommunications huge was declared next a boardroom electric power wrestle above the chairman’s want to exchange him with then-chief financial officer Tony Staffieri.

Edward’s original attempt to oust Natale in favour of his No. 2 led as an alternative to Staffieri’s departure in September 2021, as effectively as a board vote that observed Edward eliminated from his seat at the head of the desk.

Enjoy | Rogers corporation plagued by infighting in family and boardroom: 

Rogers Communications plagued with leadership dispute and spouse and children infighting

Telecom large Rogers Communications has been thrown into turmoil in excess of an inside management dispute involving users of the Rogers household by itself. All this whilst the corporation tries to finalize a huge $26 billion deal to acquire over Shaw Communications.

Edward penned a shareholder resolution — with out a shareholder assembly — to oust the 5 directors who had defied him. The corporation submitted a lawful problem to his revamped board, sparking a courtroom fight in excess of who basically served on it.

A British Columbia Supreme Court docket judge ruled Edward Rogers’ declaration legitimate and he was reinstated as chairman.

Staffieri changed Natale as president and CEO in the aftermath of the ruling.

In the court filings, Natale said he negotiated and agreed upon the conditions of his severance in a series of conferences with Edward in September 2021, that had been accredited by the Rogers board.

But he reported a group of board users then requested him to keep on as CEO from Edward’s wishes “to help the strategic priorities of the business enterprise, like to complete the Shaw Offer and help the intricate regulatory approvals and submit-merger integration endeavours.”

Natale mentioned the enterprise improved his work terms in prepared contracts in Oct 2021, before he was terminated the following month. He stated the business has a contractual obligation from people offers to deliver him with particular entitlements on a termination devoid of result in but has refused to do so, “alternatively only delivering Natale with compensation consistent with a termination without result in” underneath his former agreement.

A man wearing a suit with a concerned expression, next to a taller man wearing a suit and looking sideways toward him, with one hand over mouth.
Rogers chair Edward Rogers, still left, gained a struggle with previous CEO Joe Natale, appropriate, for regulate of the business. (Chris Youthful/The Canadian Push)

In a statement, Natale spokesman Bill Walker of MidtownPR reported “it is unfortunate that Rogers will not honour its commitments manufactured to Mr. Natale.”

“His work arrangement, place in position by the board of administrators at the time was evidently articulated, duly executed and built to assure continuity through the Shaw merger,” Walker reported in an e-mail.

“We are self-assured that the courts will share this watch.”

Rogers spokesperson Sarah Schmidt explained the corporation designs to “protect by itself vigorously in opposition to his baseless declare” and will file a counterclaim to address alleged “poor conduct” on Natale’s portion.

“An impartial investigation has disclosed that Joe Natale engaged in serious misconduct through his time as CEO. As a consequence, we have created the necessary determination to terminate him for lead to,” Schmidt reported.

“Even though we would have most popular to deal with this issue privately, Mr. Natale has still left us with no preference.”

Schmidt mentioned that Rogers’ investigation unveiled that in October 2021, Natale knew steps had been being taken to make changes to the company’s board which would stop his tenure as CEO. She alleged Natale awarded himself “excessive payment without the need of right board acceptance” prior to his departure.

“This, and other steps, were being a critical breach of his fiduciary obligations as a main executive officer and director of a general public corporation,” she claimed.

“Mr. Natale was informed of the investigation and presented an chance to react. He recognized the implications of its findings and the lawsuit is an endeavor to get in advance of the investigation.”

Previously this calendar year, Sun Daily life Economic Inc. named Natale to its board of directors.

Natale experienced been main govt at Telus Corp. prior to signing up for Rogers.