Ronald J. Doerfler, Hearst Corporation director, trustee and senior VP, dead at 72
Published 5:13 pm, Friday, October 11, 2013
Ronald J. Doerfler, Hearst Corporation director, trustee and senior vice president, finance and administration, died today in Brick, N.J., after a brief hospitalization. He was 72.
Doerfler, whose career at Hearst Corporation spanned 15 years, had responsibility for Hearst's finance and accounting activities, and also oversaw Hearst's New York real estate holdings. He was elected to Hearst's Board of Directors in June 2002 and was a testamentary trustee under the will of William Randolph Hearst since 2008. Doerfler represented Hearst on the board of directors of A+E Networks during virtually his entire tenure at Hearst.
"The passing of Ron Doerfler is not only a loss to Hearst, but to associates across the media community," said Steven R. Swartz, president & CEO of Hearst Corporation. "He was an outstanding executive, providing our management team with valuable strategic and transactional guidance throughout his career. He will be greatly missed."
"Ron was a part of Hearst for more than 15 years and our partner before that in his roles at Cap Cities, ABC and Disney," said Frank A. Bennack Jr., executive vice chairman, Hearst Corporation. "His financial expertise stretched across nearly every line of business Hearst is engaged in, and he was an integral part of Hearst's major transactions since 1998, including: the Pulitzer broadcasting group acquisition; creation of Hearst Television; the A+E Networks and Lifetime merger; the Mark Burnett partnership; and the addition of Lagardère's magazine titles. Most importantly though, Ron was a close friend. Those of us in the Hearst family who had the privilege to work with Ron will miss him greatly."
Doerfler joined Hearst as vice president and chief financial officer in 1998 and was elected senior vice president in March 2000. Prior to Hearst, he was senior vice president and chief financial officer at ABC, Inc., and at its predecessor Capital Cities/ABC. Doerfler joined Capital Cities Communications in 1969 as assistant controller and was appointed treasurer in 1977, and senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1980. He played a major role in Capital Cities' acquisition of ABC, Inc., in 1986 and again in the 1996 Capital Cities/ABC merger with The Walt Disney Company.
Doerfler began his business career in 1960 in public accounting and in 1966, he joined International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation as a senior financial analyst.
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He was a former chairman of the board of the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Doerfler sat on the board of trustees of Fairleigh Dickinson University, his alma mater, and the Museum of the Moving Image, and served on the board of directors of the Arts & Business Council. In June 2007, he was awarded Fairleigh Dickinson's Charter Day Award, which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves as outstanding leaders in their professions and their communities.
Doerfler was a member of the board of directors for Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm, from 2006 to 2011. He was also instrumental in the planning and construction of Hearst Corporation's award-winning Hearst Tower, which opened in 2006.
Doerfler, born in Jersey City, N.J., graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in accounting and became a CPA in 1967. He received an MBA, magna cum laude, from Fairleigh Dickinson in 1972.
He is survived by his wife, Krystyna, daughter Stephanie and granddaughter Alexandra Casteele.
Funeral arrangements are private. A memorial service, to be announced at a later date, will be held in New York City. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fairleigh Dickinson University and the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York.