There are many boards of directors needing better chairpersons today. Boards can be skittish, they can be confrontational, they can be overly conservative. A good chair is the driver and needs to understand techniques that can help in getting that bus where it wants to go. It goes even further when a board has to always be ready to answer to regulatory agencies and politicians.
This subject is front and center today as the public spectacle of the rape of the Rogers empire’s board spends itself in the news media. It shows how little sympathy is left for that multi-billion communications conglomerate since the death of its founder. Ted Rogers is remembered as a giant, a progressive, a strategist and as a man whose success was ordained.
But his successor, his son Edward Rogers, seems to have fallen too far from the tree. Where Ted could use his board wisely, young Edward tends to abuse.
At a time when the Rogers operations are under microscopic study by three major government agencies as well as the commons committee on industry, science and technology, young Rogers has blotted his copy book. It will jeopardize the company’s effort to acquire Shaw Communications for some $26 billion in cash and debt.
If this merger is approved, Canadians would be almost guaranteed swiftly rising rates for cellphone services, Internet and television distribution.
Luckily lenders are leery of high price acquisitions when a company is having conflict at the board level. And when Rogers hopes to become the largest company in the industry in Canada, the Rogers’ scion is playing with fire.
As it seemed the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had to consume lots of antacid to allow the collapse of CTV into Bell Canada, any further concentration of the industry has to be contra-indicated. At the same time, the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) are doing their own studies. Yet, when all is said and done by the various reviewers, it will still be a political decision.
But in this case, Edward does not have the political contacts and smarts of his father. I think he has driven the stake into his own heart.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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