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David Wicks, Longtime Cable Executive And Banker, Dies At 70

David Wicks, a former Cablevision Systems executive and banker who was an influential board chairman at the Cable Positive HIV/AIDS advocacy group, died on Dec. 30 at age 70 of complications following heart surgery, according to friends and a published obituary in The New York Times.

He is survived by his wife, Joan; daughters Perrin and Sara; sons-in-law John Butterworth and James Malone; granddaughters Lila and Eva, sister Elizabeth Wicks, and brother John Wicks, according to the Times notice. A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, 90th St. and Fifth Avenue in New York City.

As a commercial banker, David Wicks was instrumental in establishing financing models for the cable-television industry in the 1970s, according to published biographies. For those efforts, he received the National Cable Television Association's Vanguard Award for Young Leadership in 1978.

He also worked for decades as an investment banker and private investor, focused on areas including medical technology and the early days of broadband development.

From 1997 to 2003, he was a vice president at Cablevision Systems, overseeing testing and development of digital products and services. Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan told Multichannel News through a spokesman: "David was a talented executive and important contributor to Cablevision's new media efforts at a time when our company was confronting the challenges and opportunities of the transition from analog to digital. We appreciated his loyal support when we were seeking franchises or whenever we asked for any kind of assistance, and admired the work he did after he left at Cable Positive and beyond. He will be missed."

He was active in the fight against HIV and AIDS, notably as chairman of Cable Positive, the cable industry-backed non-profit organization.

Steve Villano, the group's longtime executive director, lauded Wicks's contributions, noting in a posting on Legacy.com that his "early and unflagging support for the fight against HIV/AIDS brought several very tangible results to the cause."

Wicks helped deliver significant support to the organization from Cablevision, including the donation from Cablevision's retail electronics subsidiary, The Wiz, of the group's first desktop computers and printers, Villano said.

"It was David's advocacy from his position on Cable Positive's board that persuaded The Wiz management to donate $100,000 in equipment, television monitors and desktops to Downstate Medical Center's HIV/AIDS Women's and Children's Center -- a gift that helped transform a dark, dreary clinic in the heart of Brooklyn, NYC, into a bright, welcoming place where children and their parents could get compassionate care--and still do, a full-decade after the gift was made," Villano added.

"Cablevision's strong support of Cable Positive also sent a solid signal to other cable systems of all sizes, that leveraging their vast resources to fight a critical public health problem was simply the responsible thing to do," Villano wrote. "Having David Wicks conveying that message, with his powerful credibility within the financial community, was of great, great importance to Cable Positive's growth and acceptance by elements of the cable industry that had not traditionally supported the organization's work."

Wicks was a founding partner of telecommunications consulting and business development firm The Alwyn Group LLC and served on boards of many non-profit entities in communications and health care. He received his MBA from the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia and his BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.