Nicholas Edward Donatiello Jr.
June 28, 1960 – June 26, 2018
Donatiello – Nicholas Jr. Passed away from natural causes unexpectedly on June 26 two days before his 58th birthday. Over his lifetime, he was deeply loved by his family as well as his global community of friends, all of whom are saddened by the loss of his extraordinary wisdom and insight. As the founder and CEO of Odyssey L.P., Nick provided strategic guidance to the corporate giants of consumer and media Fortune 100 companies as they navigated the constantly changing landscape of technology’s impacts on their businesses. He was also a trusted advisor to smaller, emerging companies and their leadership teams, as well as to their investors and venture capital firms. Most recently, Nick sat on the boards of Sony Corporation, Dolby Laboratories, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and was Chairman of the Board of Directors of several of the American Funds managed by Capital Research and Management. His prior board experience included serving as a Director of Gemstar-TV Guide International; TV Guide, Inc.; The Schwab Charitable Fund; Picaboo Inc.; Classmates Media Corp.; Zinio Systems, Inc.; Aristotle International, Inc.; and W.R. Hambrecht+Co. As a director of KQED, Inc. and then Chairman of the Board, he was instrumental in strategically reshaping the organization to make it the most watched and listened-to public broadcasting group in the country during his tenure.
With a deep commitment to higher education, Nick returned to his alma mater, Stanford Business School, where he co-taught corporate governance. He also played a foundational role in the faculty, staff, student and alumni LGBTQ community, hosting an annual event each January and serving as an adviser to the GSB’s student Pride Group. A proponent of freedom of choice, Nick was active in ensuring the defeat of California’s Proposition 8. In the fall of 2008, the campaign turned to Nick for emergency help and in the final six weeks of the campaign, he served as an unheralded leader helping direct all of the polling, media and television ads. This work helped set the stage for the post-Proposition 8 victories on ballot measures, in state legislatures, and in the courts from coast to coast. Nick was hailed by the campaign as an unsung hero, a consummate professional, and a man committed to equality and dignity for everyone.
Nick graduated with a BSE in Engineering from Princeton University and earned an MBA from Stanford Business School. He began his career at Princeton University as their youngest-ever Sports Information Director, worked for McKinsey & Company as a management consultant, and then as Press Secretary and Campaign Manager for United States Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Nick has been the recipient of a number of awards and acknowledgements including Stanford’s John W. Gardner Volunteer Leadership Award, the Award of Merit by the Board of Governors of Stanford Associates, Princeton’s W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize and the Class of 1901 Medal for service to his class and to the university. He was named one of “The 50 People Who Matter Most On The Internet,” and was a principal speaker at major computer industry, new media, and entertainment conferences as well as corporate offsite meetings and conferences. Beyond his extensive business achievements, Nick loved to entertain friends and family in his home, cooking and creating everything from scratch from bread to pasta to ice cream. He also enjoyed weaving blankets and placemats for gifts; the mathematical aspect of designing the warp appealed to the engineer in him, and the textures and colors of the various yarns appealed to the artist/designer in him. More than anything else, Nick enjoyed helping others. Without fail, every one of his friends noted his generous and altruistic spirit. Nicholas Donatiello, Jr. is survived by his father, Nicholas Donatiello, Sr. (Bayville, NJ), sister Lisa Kispert (Flemington, NJ), brothers Guy Donatiello (Rosemont, PA) and Chris Donatiello (Petaluma, CA), as well as seven nieces and nephews and numerous godchildren who brought him much joy. A funeral service will be held on July 20 at 10am at the Princeton Chapel in Princeton, NJ. A memorial service will be held at Stanford Memorial Church on October 4 at 2pm with a celebration of Nick’s life to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Nick Donatiello Memorial Fund at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, to honor and extend Nick’s outsized impact on higher education and corporate governance
- Stanford Graduate School of Business c/o Nick Donatiello Memorial Fund.
- Funeral Service Friday, July 20, 2018
- Memorial Service Thursday, October 4, 2018
Nicholas Edward Donatiello Jr.
July 11, 2018
Sending my heartfelt sympathy iand prayers to Nick Sr. and all the family. Nick was a brilliant. and successful man who was a tribute to his upbringing. There are not many who can achieve so much in a lifetime.
July 10, 2018
Nick was a dear friend through middle school and high school. We kept in touch through college when I was at University of Pennsylvania and he was at Princeton. I'd been in touch with him periodically over the years, and saw him when I was in San Francisco in 2001. Nick was always an extraordinary person with remarkable gift for leadership and accomplishment. I am heartbroken to hear of his early passing and I send his family my deepest condolences.
Mimi Preiser Zukoff