Why is it not surprising that it has come to this? Rogers – the company — has never been a model of sound corporate governance – far from it. This internal battle right now is a classic symptom of a dysfunctional board in a situation where one family controls the whole show while ordinary investors, and frequently independent directors for that matter, are relegated to bit parts.
One recalls similar internecine battles involving Magna and Canadian Tire, none of which ever topped the list of corporate governance best practices. It’s a shame, too, that at a time when ethical practices in the boardroom are taking centre stage, there’s not a word about the larger role of ethics in this discussion. Smart investors, and certainly informed stakeholders, expect better these days.
Frankly, I fault Canada’s institutional investors for giving their imprimatur to a corporate structure that is about as far away from good governance as you can get, and regulators and market gatekeepers for still permitting these antiquated controlling shareholding contrivances.
And don’t even get me started on how inappropriate it is, from the perspective of good civic governance, if nothing else, for a sitting mayor of Toronto to be insinuating himself into a matter like this. Rogers does a lot of business with the city of Toronto and Tory’s role just opens the door to all kinds of questions and potential conflicts.