Former Rogers Communications CEO Joe Natale is suing for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract over his ouster during the 2021 family power struggle for control of the company led by Edward Rogers.
Natale’s statement of claim, filed in Ontario Superior Court this week, seeks $24 million in damages, including $4 million related to an unpaid bonus due upon closure of Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw Communications, under terms of his employment contract.
A former TELUS CEO, Natale served as Rogers’ CEO from 2017 to Nov. 2021, when current President & CEO Tony Staffieri was appointed to the role.
⚡Succession star Brian Cox records Cameo video message for Rogers chair Edward Rogershttps://t.co/7ASiJjQUQT
*This video contains profanity pic.twitter.com/h2RqzrZbQL
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) January 12, 2022
The suit also takes issue with a video message by Succession actor Brian Cox, commissioned by Edward Rogers’ wife Suzanne via celebrity video platform Cameo, following her husband’s boardroom victory. In the video, Cox congratulates Rogers “on his real life ‘Succession’ at Rogers Communications and also having Joe Natale to f— the f— off.”
Rogers to file counterclaim
The company told Broadcast Dialogue it plans to vigorously defend itself against the allegations, going further to confirm Rogers will file a counterclaim alleging Natale awarded himself “excessive compensation without proper board approval” just a month prior to his departure.
“An independent investigation has revealed that Joe Natale engaged in serious misconduct during his time as CEO,” said Rogers in a statement. “As a result, we have made the necessary decision to terminate him for cause.”
Rogers said its investigation revealed that in October 2021, Natale became aware steps were being taken to make changes to the board that would end his tenure as CEO.
“Before his departure, he awarded himself excessive compensation without proper board approval. This, and other actions, were a serious breach of his fiduciary duties as a chief executive officer and director of a public company. Mr. Natale was aware of the investigation and given an opportunity to respond. He understood the implications of its findings and the lawsuit is an attempt to get ahead of the investigation,” the company said.
“While we would have preferred to deal with this matter privately, Mr. Natale has left us with no choice. The company will defend itself vigorously against his baseless claim and will file a counterclaim to address his improper behaviour.”
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