Eight Rogers directors back president and CEO Joe Natale, with three family members pitted against founder's only son

Loretta Rogers, Melinda Rogers-Hixon, and Martha Rogers are part of a group that has blocked Edward S. Rogers's attempt to replace the boss

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      There's a new development in the battle within the board of Rogers Communications.

      Eight directors have issued a statement expressing their unequivocal support for president CEO Joe Natale and his management team.

      Loretta Rogers, Melinda Rogers-Hixon, Martha Rogers, John A. MacDonald, John Clappison, David Peterson, Bonnie Brooks, and Ellis Jacob issued the statement in the wake of published reports that the founder's only son, Edward S. Rogers, wanted Natale replaced.

      "We, along with the Management, continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders," the eight director said in the statement. "No other group of individuals has authority to purport to act as the Board of Directors of Rogers Communications Inc."

      The following five directors' names were not on the statement: Robert Dépatie, Robert J. Gemmell, Alan Horn, Philip Lind, Edward S. Rogers.

      Natale, a former president and CEO of Telus, is also on the board of Rogers.

      In a separate statement, MacDonald, the board chair, declared that a proposal by Edward S. Rogers "to hold a purported Board meeting with his proposed slate of directors this weekend does not comply with the laws of British Columbia, where Rogers Communications is incorporated, and is therefore not valid".

      "It is disappointing that the former Chairman is attempting to act unilaterally without regard for the interests of the company and all of Rogers' shareholders," MacDonald continued. "To protect the best interests of the company and all shareholders, the board and its duly elected directors will continue to ensure that Rogers fully complies with the rules and procedures of proper corporate governance."

      Edward S. Rogers is the finance, nominating, and executive committees chair. Lind is the vice chair of the board.

      The drama on the Rogers board has unfolded in the midst of a $26-billion takeover attempt of Shaw. BCE Inc., which owns Bell, has opposed the deal.

      Last week, the board replaced Edward S. Rogers as chair with MacDonald, an independent director.

      This came after Edward S. Rogers reportedly tried to replace Natale with the chief financial officer, Tony Staffieri. Rogers was opposed by his two sisters and his mother, who are on the company's board.

      Staffieri subsequently quit.

      Rogers' share price is down 1.07 percent so far this year, closing at $60.02 on Friday (October 22). Its market capitalization is $30.42 billion.

      The company's chief competitors are Bell Canada and Telus in the telecommunications sector. Rogers also has extensive media holdings and owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

      In addition, Rogers has a 37.5-percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and other sports entities.