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Founder of Canadian media giant Henri Audet dies

Henri Audet, the founder of Canadian media giant Cogeco, died on 3 November aged 94.

Henri Audet, the founder of Canadian media giant Cogeco, died on 3 November aged 94.

The family business, which is the country’s fourth-largest cable television provider, said in a statement that ownership of the group will remain with the founding family.

Audet, who studied to become an electric engineer, started his career in Canadian Broadcast Corporation, a publicly owned radio and television group, in 1945.

His strong belief in the future of television broadcasting led to the founding of Cogeco in the 1950s. The Montreal-based company first owned only television stations, before becoming a media conglomerate.

Audet, who initially entrusted the running of the group to outsiders, became chairman and chief executive of Cogeco in 1976, handing over the leadership role to his son, Louis, in 1993.

It wasn’t until 2006, at the age of 88, that Audet stepped down from the company’s board of directors, remaining its president emeritus.

He was given plenty of accolades during his tenure, receiving the Order of Canada – the country’s second highest honour – in 1984. Audet, considered the pioneer of cable television in Canada, was also inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1993.

Cogeco, which operates through subsidiaries such as Cogeco Cable, Cogeco Data Services and Cogeco Diffusion, is fully owned by Gestion Audem – a holding company of the family.

The group added in the release that control of Gestion will remain with descendants of Audet, who have no plans to sell.

From an initial staff of 11 when it was founded, Cogeco now employs 3,500 people and had fiscal 2012 revenues of $1.4 billion (€1.1 billion).

Second-gen Louis is currently president and chief executive of the group.

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