Canada’s telecommunications industry has lost one of its pioneers.
Shaw Communications confirmed the death of company founder JR Shaw in a news release issued on March 24.
The executive chair and former CEO died peacefully at the age of 85.
Shaw Communications provides cable, internet, voice, satellite, and wireless services to over 7 million subscribers.
JR Shaw, who has been named one of Canada’s richest people, founded cable provider Capital Cable Television in 1966, which went on air in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1971.
The company developed a radio and television broadcasting group that became Corus Entertainment.
Shaw expanded to providing internet service in 1996 and home phone service in 2005, and acquired Wind Mobile in 2016 (rebranded as Freedom Mobile).
In 1998, JR Shaw stepped down as CEO when his eldest son, the late Jim Shaw (who died in January 2018 at the age of 60), succeeded him, followed by Brad Shaw, the company’s current CEO, in 2010.
JR Shaw remained active in the company as executive chair. Brad Shaw will now assume the interim role of executive chair.
Among the awards and honours he garnered, he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, received the Alberta Order of Excellence, and was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and the Cable Hall of Fame.
He also helped create the Shaw Charity Classic, the Calgary stop on the PGA Tour Champions, raising over $48 million for Alberta charities since 2013.
As a philanthropist, JR Shaw supported various charitable causes as well as Canadian art and artists.
“My family and I are at a loss for words and are deeply saddened at JR’s passing,” Brad Shaw stated in a news release. “JR was the founder and leader of our company, but he was also an exceptional husband, a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. His legacy of love and compassion for people will live on for generations.”