‘I TAKE NO JOY’: Court sides with Edward Rogers in bitter dispute

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Edward Rogers is still the king of the Rogers castle.

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The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled Friday that the new board picked by the former chair of Rogers Communications Inc. is valid.

Lawyers for Rogers and lawyers for the company started by his father presented their cases Monday.

Rogers argued he had the authority to appoint a new board, despite there not being an in-person shareholder get-together, while lawyers for the company argued that due process was not followed.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick announced the decision Friday afternoon and also denied a request for a short stay to allow for an appeal.

Fitzpatrick said assurances by lawyers for Edward Rogers that the new board would not take any steps to end the family’s appeal were satisfactory enough for her to not allow the stay.

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The sides had been arguing about leadership.

Rogers is the chair of the family-owned trust, which controls 97.5% of Rogers’ voting shares, though other family members who are also directors, had come out against his maneuvering, which notably including removing Joe Natale as chief executive officer of the company in September.

Rogers was removed as chair of Rogers Communications and Natale stayed, but then he introduced a new board as chair of the Rogers Control Trust and petitioned the court to make that board valid.

After getting his way, Edward Rogers said in a statement that Natale will remain CEO and a director of Rogers Communications and has the support of the board. He also urged a return to stability and a focus on closing a “transformational” mega-merger deal with longtime rival Shaw Communications.

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“Today’s decision resolves important governance issues at Rogers Communications Inc.,” Rogers said.

“I take no joy in the decision or the events of past weeks,” he said. “The judgment confirms I acted appropriately, in accordance with RCI’s Articles and applicable corporate law, with a clear preference for expediency to ensure that Rogers Communications is effectively governed.”

“The company requires an effective board that shares a strategic vision for the business, is open, deliberate, consistent in its decision making, independent of management, and that always acts in the best interests of the corporation,” Rogers said.

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“The steps I have taken in the face of constant attacks in the media were difficult for me and my family,” he said. “As Chair of the Rogers Control Trust, my responsibility is to ensure that the company is properly governed and effectively managed. I take that responsibility very seriously.

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“Our family has disagreements like every other family. I am hopeful we will resolve those differences privately, as any family would. I know every member of our family wants the brightest future for Rogers Communications,” Rogers added.

Rogers also expressed confidence in the company, its management, 24,000 employees and its “bright future.”

He closed by vowing: “I am certain that for Rogers Communications the best days are still ahead of us.”

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