Netflix vet Steve Swasey dies after battle with ALS

PR pros who have worked with Swasey are paying tribute to him on social media.

Steve Swasey died on November 16.

SAN FRANCISCO: Netflix vet Steve Swasey has died at 65, after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) earlier this year. 

Swasey’s family wrote in a LinkedIn post that he died on November 16. In March, Swasey retired after a 43-year career “communicating the attributes of many great companies to consumers around the world,” his family wrote, adding that he loved his work.

“More importantly, he loved his faith, his family, traveling the world, cooking, sharing and eating abundant, sumptuous meals,” said the family statement. “Rather than a celebration of life, I ask you to follow Steve’s request to hold those closest to you even closer, and live your life to its fullest every day.”

Swasey was VP of comms for Healthline Media until November 2021, and earlier in his career he headed global comms for transit app Moovit, was SVP of corporate comms for online lending marketplace Lending Club, was head of global corporate comms for mobile game developer Kabam and was Netflix’s VP of corporate comms. He also held roles at Oracle’s PeopleSoft, Tri-Valley Growers, E&J Gallo Winery and Ketchum.

Friends and colleagues across the communications industry paid tribute to Swasey on social media. Bospar principal Curtis Sparrer noted on LinkedIn that Swasey was one of his favorite clients and people.

“I often looked to Steve as a role model because there are few people in PR who balance canny media acumen, wisdom and just the right sense of humor,” Sparrer wrote.

Robb Henshaw, cofounder and CMO for Cameyo, wrote on LinkedIn about how Swasey helped him in his first job, which started as an internship in PeopleSoft’s comms team.

“Even though I was just an intern and he wasn’t my manager, Steve always took the time to talk with me and give me advice,” Henshaw wrote.

Nick Kalm, founder and CEO of Reputation Partners, and Mike Durand, director of corporate marketing, comms and PR for CooperCompanies, also wrote on LinkedIn about their time working with Swasey at Ketchum.

Durand explained that Swasey was one of his first bosses when he was at Ketchum. 

“He took me under his wing. Showed me the ropes,” wrote Durand. “But more than that, he showed me how to really care for those you work with and how to help them learn and grow.”

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the UCSF ALS department or the Mission Ministries at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church. 

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