André Chagnon, the founder of Videotron, has passed away at the age of 94. Chagnon’s family says the telecom pioneer and philanthropist died peacefully early Saturday morning.
Chagnon was born in Montréal in 1928. The son of an electrician, he took up the family trade, training as an electrician technician at the École technique de Montréal, before establishing his own electrical contracting company, E.R. Chagnon et Fils Ltée. He sold the business to his employees in 1964 when he founded Videotron.
The company went on to become a cable television market leader in less than three decades, instituting innovations that increased consumer demand like an expanded channel offering from five to 35 channels. Videotron also introduced the first pay-per-view service, Sélecto–TV in 1969. The company carried out a public offering in 1985, followed by the acquisition of Télé–Métropole.
Chagnon was committed to supporting various education, health, arts and sports causes. In 2000 when Videotron was sold to Quebecor, the Chagnon family created the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, dedicated to finding sustainable ways to prevent poverty and helping young people in Quebec develop their full potential.
Chagnon’s achievements have been recognized with numerous awards, including being named the first Grand Lauréat du Prix des Communications by the Québec Communications Ministry in 1983. In 2003, he was named Grand bâtisseur québécois des technologies de l’information et des communications (Pioneer in information and communication technologies in Québec) by the Fédération de l’informatique du Québec. In 2009, he was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame.
He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and to the Ordre national du Québec in 2003. He was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2015, he was awarded the Medal of Honour of the National Assembly. He’s also been recognized by the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations as a major contributor to the Quebec economy and named an honoree of the Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec, a distinction awarded to exceptional entrepreneurs who’ve contributed to Québec’s entrepreneurial vitality and reach.
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