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Privacy Expert and First Amendment Defender Kurt Wimmer Dies

Kurt Wimmer, 62, who had been co-chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group at law firm Covington & Burling, died April 4 following a battle with cancer.

Wimmer was corporate counsel for Pearl, the broadcast consortium.

"We have been all so very fortunate to have known and worked with Kurt," said Pearl managing director Anne Schelle. "[H[]is guidance, vision, loyalty, tremendous passion, and kindness for Pearl and its investors will be missed. It is indeed sad as we lost a true gem of a human being."

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Kurt Wimmer

Kurt Wimmer (Image credit: Covington & Burling)

Wimmer was also a member of The Media Institute’s Board of Trustees and was chairman of its First Amendment Advisory Council. 

"We are deeply saddened that Kurt Wimmer, our cherished friend and colleague, passed away on April 4, 2021," said Covington Chair Doug Gibson.  "Kurt was an international leader in privacy, cybersecurity, technology, and media law, among many other accomplishments during a career at Covington that spanned more than three decades.  He was a tireless pro bono advocate as well—representing many journalists and other organizations advancing press freedom and playing a leading role in the firm’s work for the International Paralympic Committee.  Kurt embodied the very best values of the firm, and he was a beloved friend, teacher, and mentor to colleagues of all ages.  He will always be missed and remembered."

 "We are extremely saddened by the passing of our good friend Kurt Wimmer," said Media Institute President Rick Kaplar. "We had the pleasure of working with Kurt since 1999, and during that time he advanced the mission and goals of the Institute in myriad ways. We will miss his fine legal mind and his principled approach to public policy. But most of all we will miss the good and decent person he was, and the trusted friend he became. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Wimmer is past chair of the Privacy and Information Security Committee of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section. His clients at Covington & Burling included Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung, Accenture, General Mills, ExxonMobil, Instagram, WhatsApp, Evernote, Cloudflare, CBS, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League.

From 2006 to 2009, Wimmer was senior VP and general counsel of Gannett Co. and was general counsel of the Newspaper Association of America.

Wimmer studied journalism at the University of Missouri, then got masters and law degrees from Syracuse. 

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He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and three children, Max, Nick and Gracie.