JR Shaw, founder, former chief executive and current executive chair of Shaw Communications died Monday at the age of 85.
In a news release Tuesday, the company said he passed away peacefully.
Shaw founded his cable company as Capital Cable Television Co. in 1966, and connected its first customer in 1971. The Calgary-based company has since grown to serve more than seven million customers, and employ upwards of 10,000 people.
Shaw also spun out Corus Entertainment as a separate public company.
“My family and I are at a loss for words and are deeply saddened at JR’s passing,” said Brad Shaw, JR’s son and CEO of Shaw Communications, said in a statement. “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.”
“I spoke to JR every day about the business. He was engaged and interested in everything the company was doing – from the latest technology being rolled out to how we were meeting the needs of families across Western Canada,” Brad Shaw said.
“We know we will miss his smile, his advice and his encouragement. But all of our people know that JR would want us looking out for each other, for our neighbours, and serving our customers to the best of our abilities.”
Shaw Communications grew beyond cable to home phone, radio, and internet service, and in 2016 the company acquired WIND Mobile, later renamed Freedom Mobile.
At the time, Shaw already owned a 10 per cent stake in the company, but he bought another 200,000 shares, expressing a vote of confidence in the new venture.
JR stepped down as chief executive in 1998 in favour of his eldest son, Jim, who led the company for 12 years. According to a news release announcing JR’s passing, Brad Shaw will assume the role of executive chairman on an interim basis, which is expected to be confirmed at an April 9 board meeting.