Weather Channel executive Curt Hecht, a pioneer in the adoption of technology with tremendous impact on television and advertising, has died following a battle with lung cancer. He was 47.
Hecht had been fighting the disease for five months, a fact he kept secret from all but a very few close friends, according to a statement from Weather Channel CEO David Kenny. “He did not want a fuss or pity or distraction,” Kenny said. “To him, cancer was like a challenging bike ride. He attacked it with grit and determination and fearlessly agreed to clinical trials so that others could also learn from his fight.”
Hecht served as the Weather Channel’s Chief Global Revenue Officer, a position he’d held since 2012. In that role, he oversaw ad sales for the channel and its digital products and domestic and international business development. He also headed up efforts to align the channel’s weather reporting and advertising, allowing advertisers to target ads to customers based on local weather conditions.
Prior to the Weather Channel, Hecht worked for two decades with the Publicis Groupe of France, starting out managing ad buys in kids and sports programming, rising to Chief Digital Officer of Publicis subsidiary Starcom MediaVest Group,ultimately heading up a Publicis division that worked with advertisers on reaching customers through social media.
“Curt’s life mattered, and he is simply irreplaceable,” Kenny said. “His spirit is still with us, and we will continue our success if we are only half as strong as Curt. I miss you already, Curt. I am sure we all do.”
Hecht is survived his wife, Dorothy Rotatori, and daughters Peggy and Kaki. A private ceremony is planned for this week. The Weather Channel plans to commemorate his life internally later this year, and Hecht’s family will hold a more public day of remembrance in October.