Retired Capital Cities/ABC President and CEO Daniel Burke has died at his home in Rye New York from complications of Type I Diabetes. Burke, who died Wednesday morning (10/26), was 82.
According to ABC, Burke joined Capital Cities in 1961 as General Manager of WTEN-TV Albany, NY. He moved up in the company to become a VP in 1962 and then ran the company’s WJR-AM & FM Detroit before becoming President of the Publishing Division.
Burke was thrust into the public spotlight in 1985 when he and long-time friend and business partner Tom Murphy shocked Wall Street with a $3.5 billion deal to buy ABC – a company four times the size of CapCities. The deal closed in 1986 and 10 years later, in 1996, CapCities/ABC was sold to The Walt Disney Company for $19 billion.
“Dan was a brilliant executive and my business partner for 33 years. He was also a friend whose intelligence and integrity greatly inspired those around him. Dan shaped the culture of the Company, with an emphasis on accountability, directness, irreverence and community service. He was serious and committed, with a wicked sense of humor that made every day more fun. The world is a better place for all he contributed,” said Murphy in a statement sent to RBR-TVBR by ABC.
“A gifted executive and natural teacher, and a man with a strong sense of right and wrong, Dan Burke led by example. He stood for integrity and directness in business, and encouraged a balance in work and family life and involvement in one’s community. Dan had a significant impact on me and all those he touched, and for that I will always be grateful,” added Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, who joined ABC in 1974 and moved up in the CapCities/ABC ranks during the Murphy/Burke years.
Following his retirement in 1994, two years before the sale to Disney, Burke turned his attention to creating a minor league baseball franchise, the Sea Dogs, in Portland, ME. He has also served on numerous charity, educational and governmental boards.
A visitation service will be held at the Graham Funeral Home, 1036 Post Road in Rye, New York on Sunday, October 30 from 3:00-7:00 pm. The funeral service will take place at St. Martha Church, 30 Portland Road, Kennebunk, Maine on Tuesday, November 1 at 11:00am.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to Maine Medical Center, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Naomie Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center.