QVC founder and Philadelphia businessman Joseph Segel died on Saturday, according to Qurate Retail Group, the parent of the home shopping channel. He was 88.
A serial entrepreneur, Segel’s career spanned five decades. He founded more than 20 companies across fields including aviation, printing, publishing, software and hospitality. Segel began QVC in 1986, with the aim of focusing on the truth of products rather than simply hyping them. His idea was to “give customers more than they expect.”
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“[Segel] was a visionary whose ideas changed the way the world shops. He instilled the importance of customer focus and putting the customer first in everything we do,” said Qurate president and CEO Mike George in a release.
“Joe Segel founded QVC with a thought in mind: that we could do this way of shopping better than anyone else,” added Jane Treacy, a program host at QVC who worked with Segel early in her career. “While he will be sorely missed. We gain strength in the fact that his legacy lives on at QVC and always will.”
At its inception, QVC was broadcast in 20 states, carried by 58 cable systems. Today, it reaches 380 million homes internationally through 15 TV networks, 11 websites (with more than 2.5 billion digital sessions), and interactions with close to 10 million Facebook fans.
Segel served as QVC chairman through 1993 and remained as an advisor to the company through 2013. His honors and awards include being listed in the 2005 Harvard Business School ranking of “The Great Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century,” as well as the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s 2007 list of the “The Most Influential Wharton Alumni and Faculty in the Wharton School’s 125-year history.”