Joseph “Joe” M. Segel, the entrepreneur who founded TV shopping giant QVC and the Franklin Mint, died of natural causes early Saturday in Gladwyne. He was 88.
Segel’s career spanned more than five decades, a period of which he founded more than 20 companies across publishing, photography, aviation, software and broadcasting.
Segel founded West Chester-based QVC in 1986. At the time of its first broadcast on Nov. 24, 1986, the network was carried by 58 cable providers in 20 states. Today, it reaches 380 million homes worldwide through 15 television networks. QVC is now under the umbrella of Qurate Retail Inc., a company comprised of eight retail brands.
Segel retired as chairman of QVC in 1993 and stayed on an adviser until 2013.
Segel’s honors include being inducted to the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame and the Specialty Advertising Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Electronic Retailing Association and held an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Drexel University. He also served as chairman of the Philadelphia Presidents Organization.
“Joe Segel was a remarkable leader, entrepreneur, marketer, teacher, and friend,” Mike George, CEO of Qurate Retail, said in a statement released by the company. “I’ve had the privilege to know and learn from Joe during my 14 years with QVC and Qurate Retail. He was a visionary whose ideas changed the way the world shops. He instilled the importance of customer focus and putting the customer first in everything we do.”
“Joe will be incredibly missed by our company and the broader Philadelphia business community and I’ll be forever grateful for his friendship,” George added.
Segel started the Franklin Mint in 1964. The Wawa direct marketing seller of coin-like medals went public a year later. Segel retired as chairman in 1973 and the company was later acquired by Warner Communications.
Segel also started Presidential Airways and PermaColor Corp.
QVC is making a donation in his honor to Philabundance, a hunger relief organization and Segel’s charity of choice.