Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Henri Audet, Founder of Cogeco Cable, Media Business, Dies at Age 94

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Henri Audet, Founder of Cogeco Cable, Media Business, Dies at Age 94

Article excerpt

Henri Audet, founder of Cogeco, dead at 94

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MONTREAL - Henri Audet, who saw potential in the TV industry in its early days and founded the Quebec-based Cogeco cable and media business, has died at the age of 94.

Audet founded what has become Canada's fourth-largest cable company and one of Quebec's largest media companies in 1957 with a TV station in Trois-Rivieres, Que.

His son, Louis Audet, now heads the business, which had consolidated revenue of $1.4 billion in fiscal 2012 and 3,500 employees in Ontario and Quebec.

Cogeco Inc. (TSX:CGO), Cogeco Cable Inc.(TSX:CCA) and other subsidiaries remain controlled by the Audet family.

Henri Audet began his career as an electrical engineer in 1945 with the CBC, but he wanted to be a hands-on player in the growing TV industry in the 1950s.

In 1957, he left the CBC for a career in private broadcasting and became president of Television St-Maurice Inc. in Trois-Rovieres in central Quebec.

"I think that he was a visionary because he realized all of the potential of the cable distribution industry," said Andre Chagnon, former owner of cable competitor Groupe Videotron Ltee, now owned by Quebecor Inc.

"He was highly respected in the industry," Chagnon said Monday, adding he was known as a "gentleman."

He had the intuition that the industry was going to take off, Chagnon said.

"In our industry meetings, we always found him to be the wise one and he always had the talent to bring people back to order at the right time when they were off track."

Henri Audet also played a role in bringing television from francophone speaking countries such as France and Switzerland to Canada, Chagnon said.

Chagnon recalled a battle in front of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that favoured his company instead of Cogeco, but said there were no hard feelings between the two men with the outcome. …

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