Longtime biz journalist Michael Sesit dies
This was posted on the Wall Street Journal’s intranet for employees:
Michael Sesit, one of the premier international-finance reporters in a Wall Street Journal career in the 1980s through the early 2000s, died on Jan. 24.
Journal colleagues remember him as dogged and dedicated journalist, a loyal colleague, and an ardent sports fan and accomplished military historian who never missed a chance to sneak in a sports or military analogy.
“He was a lovely fellow,” says WSJ Editor in Chief Matt Murray, “and knew more about currencies than anyone I ever met by a factor of about 20.”
Enterprise Editor Matthew Rose remembers, “My first job at the Journal involved fetching the overnight forex report off the printer and handing it to Mike, every morning, along with his coffee. In return, he helped and guided me more than any cub reporter deserved, always with good advice or a source to share. Many reporters who passed through the London bureau have tales of similar kindness and generosity.”
Jonathan Clements, former WSJ columnist, says: “I sat across the cubicle wall from Mike for a few years. I can still picture him standing at his desk, talking into his headset and gesticulating with both arms raised high in the air, as though directing traffic into JFK. His conversations with sources would, without fail, always involve at least one mention of Catherine Deneuve.” As former WSJ reporter Gary Putka notes, he would often regale colleagues with tales of football at Columbia (where he completed his only pass as a quarterback) and Cleveland Browns players he knew.
Michael had battled Parkinson’s disease for nearly 20 years with few complaints, despite the toll it took on him, says his wife, Susan Blackwell. She says that in many ways, “Michael lived his dream. Journalism was his dream and it suited his metabolism. In his 20s, it was photojournalism as an avocation. And, of course, it had to be the fastest, most glamorous of sports to photograph–Formula One.”
Michael came to print journalism late, landing a job at Business Week after bugging the managing editor’s secretary almost daily for six months. It didn’t hurt that he was his funny self in the interview.
Marcus Brauchli, former WSJ managing editor, recalls Mike as “one of my favorite collaborators and colleagues, my constant co-byline in the 1980s on Japan finance stories. He could muster enthusiasm for every jot and joggle in the markets, every personnel do-sa-do at Nomura, Merrill or Capels, every swing in the capital accounts.”
Donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in Michael’s honor are welcome.