April 20, 2024

DealBook: Mark Haines, CNBC Anchor, Dies at 65

Mark Haines, an anchor at CNBC who for years narrated the vicissitudes of the markets, died on Tuesday evening at his home in Marlboro, N.J., the network said on its Web site. He was 65.

CNBC did not disclose the cause of death.

A longtime TV news veteran who did stints in New York City and Philadelphia before attending law school, Mr. Haines joined the then-fledgling CNBC in 1989 and became one of the network’s most prominent faces.

In 1995, he became the first host of “Squawk Box,” helping to develop the early-morning show into must-see viewing for Wall Street, leavening discussions about fast-moving stocks with banter about pop culture and personalities.

In 2005, he became the co-host of another CNBC morning show, “Squawk on the Street,” with Erin Burnett. (Earlier this month, Ms. Burnett left the network to join CNN.)

From the beginning, Mr. Haines did not fit the mold of a traditional TV anchor. (A 2000 article in Fast Company described his rumpled look as “a butcher forced to wear a business suit,” and colleagues remember his off-camera uniform often including sweatpants, mussed hair and bare feet.) But he became known as a curmudgeonly, if wry, emcee. He also developed a reputation as a sometimes sharp-tongued interviewer, bluntly battling with guest chief executives over their companies.

His CNBC colleague David Faber said that Mr. Haines’s beginnings as a reporter covering corruption in Providence, R.I. helped inform that rough-and-tumble approach.

“There were those unexpected moments in interviews when he would be relentless and ferocious and not take no for an answer,” Mr. Faber said in a telephone interview. He added that such skepticism helped establish a foundation of integrity in CNBC’s news coverage.

Mr. Haines’s demeanor helped model a kind of personality that appealed to financial executives, one that has since become less uncommon across the dial.

“If we don’t get people who watch, we’re out of business,” he told The Chicago Tribune in 1998. “At the same time, you have to have a core of people who understand business.”

Joe Kernen, who co-hosted “Squawk Box” with Mr. Haines, said that his colleague’s influence on CNBC stretched well beyond the morning, given his presence at the network from its inception.

“His fingerprints were on everything,” Mr. Kernen said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Kernen pointed to Sept. 11, 2001 as Mr. Haines’s single most important day as an anchor, when he calmly reported on developments about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Jim Cramer, the CNBC host, sent this in an e-mail:

Mark Haines was our Huntley, our Brinkley, our Cronkite all rolled up into one giant of a business journalist. He was the first business journalist ever to ask a C.E.O. a hard question that I had ever seen. When I met him 15 years ago, I was scared to death of him. I was a guest co-host. He said to me when he shook my hand, “No free passes, to you or anyone else.” He stayed that way. Forever.

Mr. Haines was “the nicest gruff guy you will ever meet,” Jonathan Wald, formerly CNBC’s senior vice president of business news, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning. Mr. Wald added that the anchor “epitomized the brand, loved the news, cared deeply.”

Phil LeBeau, CNBC’s autos correspondent, also wrote on Twitter, “His wit and tough approach to handling interviews will be missed.”

Mark S. Haines was born on April 19, 1946 and grew up in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He graduated from Denison University in 1969 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1989.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and two children, Matthew and Meredith.

Below is the internal CNBC memo on Mr. Haines’s death:

It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I let you know that Mark Haines passed away last night in his home.

I know all of you join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Mark’s wife, Cindy, his son, Matt, and his daughter, Meredith.

Mark has been one of the building blocks of CNBC since the very beginning, joining us in 1989. With his searing wit, profound insight and piercing interview style, he was a constant and trusted presence in business news for more than 20 years. From the dot-com bubble to the tragic events of 9/11 to the depths of the financial crisis, Mark was always the unflappable pro.

Mark loved CNBC and we loved him back. He will be deeply missed.

When we have details on the arrangements, I will communicate them to you.

Evelyn M. Rusli contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=9d3328429715fb66b9202bd4f2718454

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