Canadian Cable Pioneer Phil Lind Dies at 80

Phil Lind, who led Rogers Communications, Canada’s biggest cable and wireless phone giant, as vice chairman until 2014 after a 45-year career, has died. He was 80.

Toronto-based Rogers in a statement said Lind died Sunday, having remained as a member of the company’s board of directors. No cause of death was offered.

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“Phil joined Rogers in 1969 as the company’s first programming officer and, over the next 54 years, helped build Rogers into a telecom and media powerhouse,” the company said. “Dubbed The Right-Hand Man, Phil served as a close confidant and advisor to company founder Ted Rogers for nearly 40 years and served as vice-chair of the Board at the time of his passing. Phil left an incredible legacy and made an indelible mark on Rogers.”

Lind oversaw Rogers’ expansion into the U.S. cable market in the 1980s before those assets were eventually sold off for a profit in 1989. He was inducted into the U.S. Cable Hall of Fame in 2012. Back in Canada, Lind looked to expand Rogers’ cable and mobile phone footprint, before Canadians in increasing numbers chose to cut the cable cord and opt for foreign streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Among the early transformative acquisitions that Lind helped pull off was acquiring rival cable Maclean Hunter in 1994 for $2.3 billion to control around one-third of the country’s cable systems. Lind’s passing coincides with Rogers completing a $15 billion merger with Western Canadian rival cable giant Shaw Communications after receiving final regulatory approvals.

After joining Rogers as a programming chief, Lind eventually became senior vp of programming and planning and was named vice chairman in 1991, a role that included overseeing key lobbying of the CRTC and the federal government in Ottawa. As a trusted lieutenant to Ted Rogers, Lind served alongside a business pioneer known as a workaholic, a demanding boss and a stubborn leader.

“Though Ted was relentless in business and building this company over the years, he was also very much a family man,” Lind said in tribute to Ted Rogers when he died in 2008. “His impact on family, community and country was as impressive as his business success.”

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