Jim Shaw will step down as CEO of Shaw Communications next year, handing leadership of the cable, satellite and phone services provider to his brother, Bradley, the Calgary-based company says.

The handover will come at the family-controlled public company's next annual general meeting on Jan. 13.


Jim Shaw, seen at the company's annual general meeting, said he will resign as CEO early in 2011. ((Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press))

"We started talking about this about the time when we really started getting serious about Canwest," Jim Shaw said. 

"I think that given what we've got in front of us, it's a good time to put more legs under the weight of the load, 'cause the load's pretty big, you know," he said.

Jim Shaw will remain on the board of directors.

The company is preparing to roll out its own wireless phone business in a year. 

"The company may be looking at more of a hands-on CEO, because they're clearly now committed to this wireless strategy," Canaccord Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose said. "And I think that they decided that Brad was the guy to help to deliver that."

The change was announced just minutes ahead of the Calgary-based company's latest financial report and within hours of a CRTC decision on whether Shaw will be allowed to buy Canwest Global Communications.

Shaw's fiscal fourth-quarter profit in the three months ended Aug. 31 declined slightly from the same period a year earlier, falling to $121.5 million, or 28 cents per share — down from $124 million, or 29 cents per share.

Analysts had expected a profit of almost $150 million, or 33 cents a share. Revenue rose 7.6 per cent to $939 million from $873 million a year earlier.

Started with Shaw in 1987

Bradley Shaw started his career with the company in 1987 as a customer service representative, and he has held various management positions in the following years, including senior vice-president of operations for Shaw Cable since 2004.

During the 12 years with Jim Shaw as chief executive, the family has become a major player in Canada's entertainment industry — both through Shaw Communications and its spinoff, Corus Entertainment.

Corus, which the family also controls, was created as a separate business focused on television content, such as the youth-oriented YTV and other specialty channels, as well as radio and other media holdings.

Shares in Shaw Communications closed down $1.33, or 5.7 per cent, at $22.12 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Friday.

With files from The Canadian Press