August 1, 2019 2 weeks 6 days ago

Obituary: Former Shaw executive Ken Stein

TORONTO – Ken Stein, former senior vice-president of corporate and regulatory affairs at Shaw Communications, died last week of cancer. He was 76.

After a career as a senior public servant, where he worked closely with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as deputy secretary to the federal cabinet for a stretch, Stein was hired in 1991 as president of the former Canadian Cable Television Association. He then joined Shaw in 1995 and remained a key builder of the company until his retirement in 2011.

He also served on the board of the Shaw Rocket Fund and was the long-time chairman of the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC).

“We were saddened to hear the unfortunate news that our dear friend and former colleague Ken Stein had passed away,” said Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw earlier this week.

“Ken was instrumental throughout the transformative period of Shaw’s growth from 1995 until his retirement in 2011. As SVP of corporate and regulatory affairs, Ken was an exemplary representative of Shaw, and enjoyed a widespread reputation for providing a balanced and clearheaded perspective in complex and challenging situations,” he added.

“As we were making acquisitions and confronting the challenges of growth and competition, Ken was the perfect leader of our regulatory initiatives and was mentor to a solid group of people who became our regulatory team. We offer his family and friends our deepest condolences. Like them, we will always remember Ken as being generous with his time, thoughtful about his insights, and hearty in his laughter.”

During his 20 years on the CPAC board, Stein oversaw a period of substantial growth which established the channel as the go-to media outlet for politicians in Ottawa. “Ken guided and nurtured CPAC’s growth from a part time Parliamentary channel to the world-class channel that CPAC is today. Parliaments from across the globe have modeled themselves after CPAC — envying its private/public partnership between the cable industry and Canada’s two Houses of Parliament,” said Colette Watson, Rogers Communications SVP broadcast television and operations, and CPAC president and general manager, in a note to CPAC staff this week.

“I spoke to Ken a few weeks ago and he wanted us to know just how much he loved CPAC and its pioneering spirit. He was so proud of the fact that CPAC was the first specialty channel in North America to livestream 24/7 in 1999. Along with CPAC founder Phil Lind, Ken was CPAC’s biggest champion.

“He was a visionary, master strategist, a teacher, a mentor, a friend. And a great boss. I will miss him terribly but am so grateful for the years we had with him. The last thing he said to me was ‘don’t be sad for me, I had a great life!’”

Stein is survived by his wife Leslie Jones, sons Luke and Chris, daughters Maddie and Sarah Nicolai, son-in-law Dave Nicolai and two grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Brian, Gordon and Harry and sister Debbie Hopkins. He was predeceased by his brother Eric.

A memorial service will be held in Toronto at Eglinton St. George’s United Church at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 7th with a reception to follow. Please click here for more information.