Jim Shaw, Cable TV Kingpin in Canada, Dies at 60

Shaw Communications Logo - Publicity - H 2018

Shaw handed the reins of the family-controlled western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications to younger brother Brad in 2011.

Jim Shaw, head of western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications until he handed over the CEO reins to his younger brother Brad in 2011, has died. He was 60.

His passing in Calgary, Alberta, after a brief illness was announced late Wednesday by his family. "As a family, our hearts are heavy with sadness,” Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw said in a 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," he added.

Jim Shaw was born in Sarnia, Ontario, on July 29, 1957, but was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, after his family moved there in 1961. Having dropped out of university to sell Christmas trees, he went on to become a gruff, Harley-riding Canadian TV mogul who in 2010 battled Goldman Sachs & Co. for control of Canada's most profitable TV channels and won. He had been head of Shaw Communications for 12 years, having taken over from his father, J.R. Shaw, who founded the company.

During his reign, Jim Shaw solidified his company's hold on the western Canadian market by completing an earlier asset swap with rival Rogers Communications for key cable systems in Vancouver and the British Columbia lower mainland. He started at Shaw Communications in 1982 in the bottom ranks, as a cable installer.

In 1987, he was promoted to vp of operations, and then president in 1995 and CEO in 1998. Having grabbed the baton from his father, Shaw made a series of bold acquisitions, including the Vancouver-based Western International Communications conventional TV stations in 1999, which were spun off to create Corus Entertainment.

Then, in late 2010, Shaw Communications bought the TV assets of CanWest Global Communications Corp. to create Canada's second-largest broadcast group, which included the Global Television Network and a stable of cable channels.