Pitts bows out

Billy Pitts, Disney's vice president of government affairs in Washington, resigned last week after six years with the company. Pitts says he does not know what he is going to do next, but says he plans to take time off before moving on to another job or venture.

"I'm not leaving with any discontent about my relationship with the Disney company," Pitts said. "It's a good company, and I believe I served it well."

Pitts' departure is the most recent in a year in which almost the entire Washington corps of network lobbyists has turned over.

Pitts joined Capital Cities/ABC in 1994 and ran the company's Washington office through July 1998. The Walt Disney Co. completed its purchase of Capital Cities/ABC in July 1996. In July 1998, Disney installed Preston Padden above Pitts as executive vice president and head of Disney's Washington shop after Padden stepped down as president of ABC Television. Padden and Pitts never saw eye-to-eye on how to lobby Congress, sources say, and Pitts often chafed under Padden's leadership.

Before coming to Capital Cities/ABC, Pitts spent 25 years as a staffer in the House of Representatives. When he left Capitol Hill, Pitts was floor assistant to House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.) and an expert in House parliamentary procedure. Pitts is close to many House leaders, particularly Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).