Gil Schwartz, former CBS chief communications executive, humorist and novelist, died Saturday in his Santa Monica home of natural causes. He was 68.
Schwartz retired in 2018 after 40 years with CBS, Viacom and Westinghouse Broadcasting overseeing the public relations, media relations, and also the corporate and internal communications functions. Although he was a top advisor to CBS’s senior executives, he was also known as a mentor who brought his singing, guitar playing and comedic talents to CBS’s annual affiliate meeting and the network’s annual holiday press party.
“For the better part of three decades, Gil Schwartz led CBS Communications with creative flare, craftsman-like expertise and an abundance of personality. He was a counselor to senior management, a mentor to future PR executives and a popular presence in every hallway,” CBS said in a statement. “His diverse and sophisticated repertoire ranged from artful media relations and gifted wordsmithing skills to an inciteful and humorous view of the media world he loved. Gil will long be remembered by the many teams he led across entertainment, news, sports and the corporate world. Our deepest sympathies are with his wife Laura, his children, grandchildren and his entire family.”
Following 14 years with Westinghouse Broadcasting where he oversaw communications for that company prior to its merger with CBS, Schwartz joined CBS as senior vice president of communications in 1996.
Through the years, he moonlighted as a columnist and author, using Stanley Bing as his pen name, with his quick-witted commentary first making the pages of Esquire. As Bing, he then took his talents to Fortune, where he wrote a back-page column for more than 20 years. Bing’s true identity got out in the early 1990s, and despite having penned two books prior to the veil being lifted, including “Crazy Bosses: Spotting Them, Serving Them, Surviving Them,” he went on to write 13 business books under that pseudonym.
As Bing, he also authored three novels, most recently “Immortal Life: A Soon to Be True Story.”
The New York City native began his professional life as a poet, playwright and actor who sharpened his talents by doing everything from Shakespeare to improvisation and, in fact, was one of the founders of The Next Move, an improv troupe in Boston.
Schwartz is survived by his wife of 14 years, Laura Svienty; daughter Nina Pajak (Matt Pajak); son Will Schwartz (Jean Moylan); stepson Kyle Bender; stepdaughter Rachel Bender; granddaughter Vivien; grandson Sam; brother Michael Schwartz (Trisha Schwartz); and niece Brianna Schwartz.