Jim Shaw, former CEO of Shaw Communications, dies at 60 after brief illness

Jim Shaw joined the company his father founded, Shaw Communications, as a cable installer and eventually became CEO, helping grow the company's revenue from $646 million $3.7 billion during his tenure.

The former CEO and vice-chairman of Shaw Communications died Wednesday at age 60 after a brief illness, the Calgary-based telecommunications giant said in a statement.

He's survived by his wife, Kathryn, three children and three step-children.

Shaw was CEO from 1998 until 2010, when he handed the reins to his younger brother, Brad.

"As a family, our hearts are heavy with sadness," he said in the statement.

"I have not only lost a brother, but a great friend and mentor. Our lives will not be as complete without hearing Jim's laughter or getting the benefit of his counsel or his insight."

The company was founded by Shaw's father JR in 1966. Now 83, he is still the company's executive chairman.

Jim joined the company in 1982 — after dropping out of the University of Calgary and trying his hand at a series of business ventures — as a cable installer, doing front-line customer service.

He was appointed vice president of operations in 1987, president in 1995 and CEO in 1998.

During his time with the company, he was involved in launching its foray into the internet, digital cable and its purchase of 11 radio stations and seven TV channels from Rogers.

He also oversaw the acquisition of assets from Western International Communications, the relocation of the company headquarters from Edmonton, and its acquisition of Canwest Global Communications in 2010.

Shaw Communications says during his tenure as CEO, the company's revenue grew from $646 million in 1998 to $3.7 billion in 2010.

He stepped down after reportedly displaying belligerent behaviour toward investors.

The company's then-president, Peter Bissonnette, told CBC News at the time that Shaw was always known to be "a little feisty."

He was also known for supporting Canadian charities and educational organisations, donating $19 million to Shawnigan Lake School in 2014.

Outside of Shaw, he also participated in a number of organizations in the cable industry, serving as chair of the Canadian Cable Television Association from 1996 to 2002, and sitting on the boards of CableLabs, Microcell, Cancom and @Home.

His brother said his contributions helped make the company what it is today.

"As an operator, a deal maker and a strategist, Jim continued building the foundation started by our father, JR, to create a Canadian business leader and household brand across Western Canada," he said.

Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, former business contacts and friends shared their condolences with the family on social media.

Edward Rogers, chair of Canadian telecom Rogers Communications, shared his sympathies with the Shaw family in a release.

"We have known Jim for many years and we are truly saddened to hear about his passing. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Jim's family, friends and to everyone at Shaw. Jim was a brilliant man and a fierce competitor. He was a confident entrepreneur who had a transformative and lasting impact on the Canadian cable landscape. He will surely be missed," Rogers wrote.

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Correction : An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Shaw has five children. He has three children and three step-children.(Jan 03, 2018 10:28 PM)