Colleagues, friends and competitors are remembering Phil Lind today. The longtime Rogers Communications executive and Vice Chair of its board passed away Sunday at age 80.
Retired Shaw Communications President Peter Bissonnette was among those processing news of Lind’s death, which he only learned of in the wee hours of Monday morning after spending a long day on the road to Calgary to escape the ongoing wildfire situation in Kelowna.
Bissonnette said he had run into Lind and the rest of the Rogers board in Vancouver just a few weeks ago, with Lind sporting a Toronto Blue Jays hat as he traveled by wheelchair.
“I gave him a big hug,” Bissonnette told Broadcast Dialogue.
Bissonnette had a parallel career to Lind, working with him while at Rogers from 1981-85, before joining Shaw in 1989. The executive said two of the hallmarks of Lind’s character were his sense of fairness and relentless preparation, even leading up to the recent Rogers-Shaw merger.
“He was such a welcome face in any of the things that we were involved with. [Shaw founder] JR and [former CEO and Vice Chair] Jim Shaw had such respect for him. His fairness and his driving force and his way of being was so much like what we were used to at Shaw with JR and his style,” said Bissonnette. “I went to France once on behalf of Shaw, and Phil, who was well known in the U.S. cable industry, introduced me in such a respectful way to the rest of the U.S. folks that were there. It was very touching. He had such class and I saw that class in pretty well everything he did. You could also call him a ‘pile driver’ because he moved a lot of piles across his desk.”
Bissonnette remembered in more recent years, Lind attending the funeral for Shaw director Charles Keating.
“Phil had had a stroke and he never let that slow him down,” he recalled. “It was freezing cold out and we were walking to the church and there was Phil with his cane, never complaining, just making his way. When Jim Shaw passed, Phil was also there in minus 30 weather, making his way. There were so many examples of that. He was a great ambassador for Rogers. He was always there and just a wonderful, wonderful person. He’s going to be missed.”
‘Communications titan’: Bibic
Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE, called Lind “a communications titan and vigorous competitor who left his mark on both Rogers and the Canadian telecoms industry as a whole.”
“I extend my condolences to the Lind family, friends and colleagues, as well as the Rogers Communications team during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Phil. Your impact will be felt for generations to come,” wrote Bibic, in a post to LinkedIn.
Retired Rogers radio executive Chuck McCoy said having Lind as a friend was a privilege.
“He was a giant in our industry, a pioneer, an art lover, philanthropist and so much more,” McCoy told Broadcast Dialogue. “For me, just a very good friend for more than 30 years. A few months back when I was living in Portland, Phil stopped by and we had a wonderful dinner. That’s something I will cherish for a long time.”
Greg O’Brien, the founding editor and publisher emeritus of CARTT.ca, Broadcast Dialogue’s sister publication, said Lind was a constant in his years covering the cable and telecom industry.
“I loved the conversations I had with him over the years, even when we disagreed. There were few executives as smart and tough as Phil Lind,” said O’Brien. “I learned so much about the broadcasting, cable, broadband and wireless businesses from talking to Phil because he built so much of it. It will be hard to imagine Rogers without Phil Lind.”
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