Nickolas Davatzes, longtime CEO of A+E Networks who steered the launch of A&E Community and Record Channel, died Saturday at his residence in Wilton, Conn. He was 79.
Davatzes joined the company as CEO in 1983 just as A&E Networks was shaped by means of the merger of fledgling cable channels Enjoyment Network, owned by RCA and the Rockefeller household, and ARTS Community, owned by Hearst and ABC. A+E Networks right now is a 50-50 joint undertaking of the Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. Davatzes served as CEO emeritus.
Davatzes led the company’s start of the signature A&E Community (an amalgam of Arts and Enjoyment) in 1984 and Background Channel in 1995 (Record formally dropped “Channel” from its moniker in 2008). He served as CEO of the parent corporation as a result of 2005, when he was succeeded by protege Abbe Raven, who started out at the organization as a secretary.
Raven, now chairman emeritus of A+E Networks, called Davatzes her “mentor, winner and dear friend” and a cable pioneer. Disney executive chairman Bob Iger hailed him as a “towering figure in the early days of cable tv (who helped) make some of the most iconic manufacturers in the media landscape.” Iger additional that he was “a man or woman of genuine integrity.”
Raven also emphasised Davatzes’ management as a programmer and as a part product for executives at a time of heady progress for the cable Tv company.
“He set the typical for excellence in television programming, integrity in business and incredible leadership. His push and passion for excellent programming led A&E and the History Channel to develop into top models, along with iconic plans this sort of as ‘Biography,’ in the U.S. and throughout the globe,” Raven mentioned. “Nick was responsible for producing and nurturing a tradition of creativeness and innovation.”
The son of Greek immigrants who grew up in New York Metropolis, Davatzes was a Maritime Corp. veteran who served from 1964 to 1965. Around his very long occupation in media he gained quite a few accolades from armed forces assistance and linked organizations, like other civic and specialist accolades. Amongst them were the Countrywide Humanities Medal presented by President George W. Bush in 2006, his 2005 induction into the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal bestowed by the French governing administration in 1989.
“Nick Davatzes built an indispensable contribution to the advancement and good results of A+E,” said Frank A. Bennack Jr., executive vice chairman and previous CEO of Hearst. “He was an amazingly talented and strongly fully commited head of (A&E and Background) for decades when they grew to domestic and international prominence. He was, importantly, for me, for (Hearst CEO) Steve Swartz and all of Nick’s good friends at Hearst, a beloved colleague who will be deeply skipped.”
In advance of becoming a member of A+E NEtworks, Davatzes was schooled as an government at Xerox, wherever he rose by means of the ranks from 1965 to 1977 in different company and industry functioning posts. He segued into info technology at an opportune time in history at Intext Communications Systems from 1978 to 1980. He moved into media up coming as an HR and administration government for cable process operator Warner Amex Communications.
Davatzes was acknowledged for advertising educational outreach and the relevance of business R&D in the course of his operate at A&E Networks. The organization later expanded to consist of the Life span cable channel as properly as much more new entries like lifestyle channel FYI and Life span Motion picture Community.
“Nick was an remarkable human being and leader, and just one of the legitimate giants of the cable field,” explained Paul Buccieri, A+E Networks Group president and chairman. “Nick thought in the electricity of media not only to brighten people’s life, but also to inform and enrich communities. He leaves a huge legacy of aid for training and the humanities. Nick is at the coronary heart of every thing that is A+E Networks and was the soul of our firm. All of us owe a wonderful debt to Nick and he will be sorely missed.”
Davatzes received a B.A. in 1962 and an M.A. in 1964 from St. John’s College, and later on he served on the school’s board of trustees. He did postgraduate scientific studies at New York University. He was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Corridor of Fame in 1999.
Davatzes is survived by his spouse of 38 yrs, Dorothea Hayes Davatzes two sons, George and Nicholas and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Christopher.