Jim Shaw (1957-2018)

Jim Shaw

Year Born: 1957

Year Died: 2018

Shaw, Jim(1957- )

Jim Shaw was born in Ontario on July 29th 1957, but was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, after his family moved there in 1961. After two years working on a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Calgary, Jim decided that he just wanted to ‘get on with it”, and left to try various enterprises, including landscaping , tree removal and a trucking business. When he suggested to his father, JR, that he should invest in his son’s business, JR countered by inviting Jim to get into the cable business with him.

Jim started in 1982 at what was then Capital Cable Television as a ditch digger, and later worked as a cable installer, before moving on to take on more responsibility in the management of the family business. After holding positions as Senior Vice-President Operations and President and Chief Operating Officer, Jim was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Communications Ltd. in December 1998. During that time, as the company’s core cable business grew to include radio and television station ownerships (the first radio station acquisitions were in 1987), high-speed internet services, digital telephone systems, telecommunications and satellite direct-to home services, its name had changed to Shaw Cablesystems Ltd in 1983 and then to Shaw Communications Inc. in 1993.

When the company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1996, close to 1.5 million customers were receiving Shaw cable service. In that same year, hi-speed internet service became available to Shaw customers in Calgary. The following year, through a merger of its subsidiary Home Star with Star Choice Television Network of New Brunswick, Shaw obtained majority ownership of Star Choice, and launched their direct-to-home satellite service. Shaw digital phone service was introduced in 2005. By 2007 it was estimated that Shaw Communications staff totaled well over 8000 employees.

Jim played an active role in the growth of Shaw Communications, including the acquisition of many radio and television stations, and the eventual spin-off of Corus Entertainment to operate these properties as a separate entity. He was a leader in the efforts launched in 2007 by some sectors of the industry to have the provisions of the Canadian Television Fund revisited, because of concerns as to the way in which the CTF’s funds were being allocated.

Jim Shaw was Chairman of the Canadian Cable Television Association from 1996 to 2002, and served as a member of the boards of Cancom, Group Telecom, Microsell, United Acquisitions and CableLabs, as well as those of several Shaw subsidiaries. He was a longstanding and active member of the Young Presidents Organization,  served on the Boards of Governors of Shawinigan Lake School in B.C. and Strathcona Tweedsmuir School in Calgary, and has served on the Boards of Governors of the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

In January 2008, Jim was appointed as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Shaw Communications.  

On October 22nd 2010,  the Shaw Communications Inc. Board of Directors announced the appointment of Jim’s brother Bradley Shaw to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Communications Inc. effective January 13, 2011, coincident with Shaw’s Annual General Meeting. Mr. Shaw had been an employee of Shaw Communications since 1987, most recently as Executive Vice President. Mr. Shaw had also been a member of the Shaw Communications Inc. Board of Directors since 1999. Jim Shaw, a Shaw employee since 1982, Chief Executive Officer since 1998 and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors since 2008, had initiated the move by submitting his resignation as Chief Executive Officer and recommending Bradley Shaw as his successor.

However, on November 17th 2010 Shaw Communications Inc. announced that Jim Shaw had advanced the company’s previously announced senior management changes to become effective on that date. Jim Shaw commented, “We are well underway in the integration of the Shaw Media assets and it became clear to Brad and I (sic) that it would be best for Brad to assume the role of CEO immediately so that he can move forward with the necessary decisions”.

Jim Shaw would continue as Non-Exec Vice Chair and a member of the Board.

Jim Shaw died at the age of 60 on Wednesday January 3rd 2018,  after a brief illness.

Sources include:

Maclean’s Magazine