Phil Lind, who helped build Rogers Communications Inc. as an executive and board member, died Sunday on his 80th birthday.
Rogers chair Edward Rogers said Lind worked for Rogers for 54 years, including nearly 40 with his father and helped build the company into a telecom and media powerhouse.
“He has been involved in every key decision in the company’s history and we are forever grateful for his countless contributions,” he said in a statement.
“Phil has been a constant steady force for over five decades. We will miss his deep devotion, relentless determination, and sage counsel.”
Rogers pushing for option to launch TTC cellular service before deal struck with other carriers
Lind joined the company in 1969 as programming chief when it owned two radio stations and had about 10,000 cable subscribers.
He went on to become a key adviser to Ted Rogers and serve in various positions including senior vice-president of programming and planning.
Lind, who was most recently vice-chair of the board, was also a member of the advisory committee to the Rogers Control Trust, which controls the company.
Rogers-Shaw deal: Conservatives, NDP accuse ‘Liberal insiders’ of benefiting from telecoms deal
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney said Lind’s death represents “a great loss for Canada.”
“Phil was a true pioneer in Canada’s cable and wireless industry and he left an indelible mark on our country. His success in business was only matched by his passion for the arts and a deep obligation to his country through his many philanthropic endeavours,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
“Canada lost a great leader today.”
The company said Lind played “an integral role in every major transaction” in Rogers’ history, right up to its $26 billion deal to acquire Shaw Communications Inc., which was completed in April.
Rogers to provide cell service in TTC subways
It described Lind as “a tireless advocate for multilingual, multicultural and specialty programming,” adding he championed Canada’s independent film and television sector, founded CPAC, and was “the driving force” behind Rogers’ acquisition of both Sportsnet and the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Phil was truly a great businessman, passionate sports fan, and a strong advocate for the Blue Jays within Major League Baseball,” said the team’s president emeritus Paul Beeston.
“He understood the value of sports and was instrumental in keeping the team in Canada along with Ted Rogers. He was a great friend and colleague who will be deeply missed.”
‘I’m not holding my breath’: Rogers-Shaw deal may not lower prices, economists say
Rogers Sports and Media president Colette Watson said the company lost “a cable giant and legend.”
“Beyond his long list of business accomplishments, Phil was a fierce advocate for the advancement of women,” she said in a statement.
“He was progressive in his views, and I personally owe my entire career to him for his mentorship, his guidance and his tutelage. Phil believed strongly in the power of multiple voices and the importance of the democratic process. He used his role and his influence to create positive change in our country.”
© 2023 The Canadian Press