Sad news to share as Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died on December 31 at the age of 70. Bob Chapek (Chief Executive Officer of Disney) and Bob Iger (Disney’s Executive Chairmain) have released a joint statement as shared below.
As shared by Variety: “Richard Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died Dec. 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70. Disney said the executive’s death was sudden. Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991. Bates served as senior VP of government relations for Disney. He was the first to open a Washington, D.C. office for the studio when he signed on. Before joining Disney, Bates served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he steered a staff of 80. In 2018, Bates was elected to the board of trustees of the Media Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization for free speech and communications policy issues.”
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A joint statement from Bob Iger and Bob Chapek was released as shared by Deadline: “All of us at Disney are heartbroken by the sudden loss of our longtime colleague and dear friend Richard Bates. As head of our Government Relations team in Washington, D.C., Richard was second to none in his field —- widely respected for his incredible achievements and beloved for his extraordinary kindness, compassion, and irresistible wit. He was passionate about his work and approached it with the same astuteness and unwavering enthusiasm he demonstrated when he first joined Disney three decades ago. For those of us lucky enough to have known Richard personally, his loss is profound. He will be deeply missed, and our prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Rose, their sons Ricky and Chris, and his entire family.”
Disney’s Executive Chairmain, Bob Iger took to Twitter to share: “I am heartbroken by the sudden loss of longtime colleague & dear friend Richard Bates—a widely respected executive, who was also extraordinarily kind, charming & irresistibly witty. His loss is profound & our prayers are with his wife Rose & sons Ricky & Chris.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bates family.