Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Preston Davis Dead at 63

Photo: ABC/Virginia Sherwood
Longtime ABC executive Preston Davis, retired President of Broadcast Operations & Engineering for ABC, died on April 15, 2013 after an illness. Mr. Davis was 63 years old.

"For 35 years at ABC, Preston was a mentor and an advisor to so many of us, but most importantly a dear friend. He led by example and was the true definition of integrity," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney/ABC Television Group. "Our thoughts are with Preston's wife, Michelle, and their children, Ashley and Preston III. I hope they know how very much Preston will be missed by his ABC family."

Mr. Davis joined ABC in 1976, beginning as an engineer in Washington, DC, and subsequently moving into various positions of increasing responsibility involving field and studio operations in Washington, Atlanta and New York. In 1988 he was promoted to Vice President, Television Operations, East Coast, where he directed the efforts of studio and field operations, electronic news gathering, telecommunications and the RF Operations & Engineering Group. In 1993 Bob Iger promoted him to lead ABC's Broadcast Operations & Engineering, making him the first African American president of any Capital Cities/ABC division in the history of the company. He retired from the company in 2011.

"Preston and I started at ABC around the same time," said Mr. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "He was a talented and tenacious leader who earned wide respect for his abilities, and was revered for his impeccable integrity. When I had to choose someone to lead BO&E into the future, there was no question Preston was the right person, and he led that team to great achievements for the better part of two decades. Preston was a class act and a great guy who had a tremendous impact on everyone who knew him."

Mr. Davis served in the U.S. Army as a specialist in communications technology and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, Inc., which provides programs for bringing talented minority youth into the communications industry. He also served on the Board of Junior Achievement of New York, was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Museum of Television and Radio, and served as a member of the President's Council of Cooper Union College of Science & Art. He resided in Morristown, NJ and Sarasota, FL.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. at the Woodland Community Church, 9607 State Road 70 E, Bradenton, Florida. In lieu of flowers, the Davis family requests that donations be made to the Center for Building Hope: Center for Building Hope, 5481 Communications Parkway, Sarasota, Florida, 34240 or

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