Copyright 2002 National Post, All Rights Reserved

National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post)…03/07/2002

From LexisNexis

Ted Rogers, the founder and chief executive of Rogers Com- munications Inc., has delayed his planned retirement at the age of 70 by up to three years.

In a brief statement, the company's board of directors said yesterday it has approved a revision of Rogers' employment contract, extending it until Dec. 31, 2006, with the option for him to terminate it early on six months' notice. By the end of the contract, Rogers, now 68, will be 73.

"It gives way more flexibility — you don't have a clock ticking down with a date that was picked five years ago," said Jan Innes, a spokesperson for Rogers.

At the company's annual meeting in 1998, Rogers told shareholders he would step down at the end of 2003.

Shares in the Toronto-based cable, broadcasting and publishing company spiked last year on speculation that Rogers would retire ahead of schedule.

But industry watchers pointed out Rogers is one of the few Canadian media companies where succession is far from settled.

Canada's other large communications companies — including Quebecor Inc., CanWest Global Communications Corp., Shaw Communications Inc. and Cogeco Cable Inc. — have seen the reins passed from founding father to son in the past few years.

Two of Rogers' four children work at the company, but they are in their 30s and neither has proven ready to inherit command, observers say.

Rogers has had at least two operations to treat a stomach aneurysm — the same ailment that claimed his father's life — but Innes said yesterday the company's founder and controlling shareholder is "in good health, there's no doubt about that."

John Tory, a longtime family friend and head of Rogers' cable operation, is seen by some as an obvious interim manager to lead Rogers Communications. But his political and other business aspirations could take him elsewhere, observers say.