In the lead up to Guy Laurence’s departure from Rogers this past Monday, Canada’s largest carrier approached competitor Telus three times in an attempt to get former CEO Joseph Natale out of his non-compete agreement with the carrier, according to a revealing new report from the Financial Post.
Rogers has even gone so far as to offer to compensate Telus in order to get Natale, who left the Vancouver-based carrier in July 2015, out of his agreement — though Telus has yet to entertain any of the company’s offers.
The carrier began courting Natale since some seven months ago, reports the Financial Post. Spearheaded by the Rogers family, the search was led by company chairman Alan Horn and a small group of other executives. The group conducted the search in complete secrecy, with Laurence’s inner circle in the dark on the impending move.
“When Joe [Natale] became available, it became too irresistible,” said an unnamed Rogers source to FP reporters Theresa Tedesco and Emily Jackson. “Here was a guy with real operations experience who ran one of our major competitors. The opportunity to was just too good to pass.”
The decision to announce Laurence’s departure came when leadership became worried that news of the search might leak. The company pulled the trigger on Laurence’s dismissal, even though Natale’s non-compete agreement is not set to expire until July 2017.
Despite excellent results over his three-year tenure as company CEO, a “stunned” Laurence was reportedly told, “It just wasn’t working” in a closed-door meeting between himself and Horn.
Rogers may end up waiting the full length of Natale’s agreement to get its new man in place. According to a source within Telus, “There are no conversations going on at the present time and there’s no reason for us to be proactive.”
What’s more, the company may have to defend against a legal injunction from Telus, which may have grounds to argue that the hiring of Natale under these particular circumstances has the potential to hurt its shareholders.