Nickolas Davatzes, longtime CEO of A+E Networks who steered the launch of A&E Community and Background Channel, died Saturday at his household in Wilton, Conn. He was 79.

Davatzes joined the business as CEO in 1983 just as A&E Networks was fashioned via the merger of fledgling cable channels Amusement Community, owned by RCA and the Rockefeller relatives, and ARTS Network, owned by Hearst and ABC. A+E Networks currently is a 50-50 joint enterprise 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 History Channel in 1995 (Heritage formally dropped “Channel” from its moniker in 2008). He served as CEO of the parent company by means of 2005, when he was succeeded by protege Abbe Raven, who commenced at the firm as a secretary.

Raven, now chairman emeritus of A+E Networks, named Davatzes her “mentor, winner and dear friend” and a cable pioneer. Disney govt chairman Bob Iger hailed him as a “towering figure in the early days of cable tv (who helped) construct some of the most iconic models in the media landscape.” Iger extra that he was “a human being of accurate integrity.”

Raven also emphasized Davatzes’ leadership as a programmer and as a position design for executives at a time of heady growth for the cable Tv company.

“He established the standard for excellence in tv programming, integrity in business enterprise and amazing management. His drive and enthusiasm for excellent programming led A&E and the Historical past Channel to turn into leading manufacturers, alongside with iconic plans these as ‘Biography,’ in the U.S. and throughout the globe,” Raven mentioned. “Nick was dependable for developing and nurturing a culture of creative imagination and innovation.”

The son of Greek immigrants who grew up in New York City, Davatzes was a Marine Corp. veteran who served from 1964 to 1965. In excess of his prolonged career in media he gained numerous accolades from army company and similar organizations, which includes other civic and professional accolades. Between them had been the Countrywide Humanities Medal presented by President George W. Bush in 2006, his 2005 induction into the Cable Tv Hall of Fame and the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal bestowed by the French authorities in 1989.

“Nick Davatzes made an indispensable contribution to the development and results of A+E,” claimed Frank A. Bennack Jr., govt vice chairman and former CEO of Hearst. “He was an amazingly gifted and strongly committed head of (A&E and Historical past) 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 friends at Hearst, a beloved colleague who will be deeply skipped.”

Before joining A+E NEtworks, Davatzes was schooled as an govt at Xerox, wherever he rose through the ranks from 1965 to 1977 in different corporate and subject running posts. He segued into details technological innovation at an opportune time in history at Intext Communications Devices from 1978 to 1980. He moved into media up coming as an HR and administration govt for cable technique operator Warner Amex Communications.

Davatzes was recognised for marketing instructional outreach and the significance of business R&D through his run at A&E Networks. The corporation later on expanded to include the Lifetime cable channel as effectively as far more current entries like way of living channel FYI and Life span Motion picture Community.

“Nick was an extraordinary particular person and leader, and a person of the real giants of the cable industry,” said Paul Buccieri, A+E Networks Team president and chairman. “Nick believed in the electrical power of media not only to brighten people’s life, but also to inform and enrich communities. He leaves a large legacy of aid for instruction and the humanities. Nick is at the heart of anything that is A+E Networks and was the soul of our firm. All of us owe a fantastic personal debt to Nick and he will be sorely skipped.”

Davatzes acquired 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 tests at New York University. He was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 1999.

Davatzes is survived by his wife of 38 years, Dorothea Hayes Davatzes two sons, George and Nicholas and 4 grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Christopher.