04/17/2006 09:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011


I am able to look back on over 50 years as an operating executive in the entertainment industry.

Now many will ask, "What is an operating executive?"

My reply: "Anyone in an executive position with responsibility to get the job done."

Most of my career has been spent in the process of selling things, or doing what was needed to support the selling of things.

In the overall scheme of things, I have been responsible for divisions of several entertainment companies. I was responsible for the business that we were to run, yet I was only as good as the product we were selling, and the people who were selling it.

Although I was experienced in each of the areas that we sold into, I realized that our people on the line needed to be directly responsible for our business.

I try not to diminish the contribution of managements, but it is a very tough challenge for me not to refer to these people as impediments to getting the job done.

When I started at Screen Gems in the mid sixties, almost everyone I came in contact with had a real job to do, and my bosses all had jobs themselves.

That lasted only until it was decided that Harvard MBAs could somehow assist us in getting organized. They did not contribute to the production, sales or delivery of content to our customers, but they were able to develop organization charts, implement reporting lines, and create opportunities to diffuse the process by having countless meetings.

When I joined CBS, I was able to observe what happened when the organization guys were put in charge of the institution. Doing actual business was relegated to a secondary role. CBS was making so much money that -- whatever organizational mischief was going on -- our profits were enormous.

I became very upset at Columbia Pictures when, at a budget meeting with the senior corporate staff, not one of them had any idea about what business we were in.

The senior people in the entertainment industry are primarily not operating people, but rather MBAs. Finance people, and lawyers.

Now that brings me to our Secretary of Defense. I do not question his intellect, his IQ, his Washington experience or his overall ability. From all that I have read and heard, he considers -- like the guys at Enron -- that he is always the "smartest guy in the room."

Now I would have hoped that he would give his commanders the latitude to pursue the war and the peace in Iraq as they saw fit, but it does not appear to be the case.


Simple, isn't it. He must go. Not because so many of his generals have come out against him, but rather because he has failed. How tough is that for the President, his people, and America to notice.

Bring in a person as Defense Secretary with a lower IQ, and much more operating experience. Soldier stuff is not an abstraction to be sublimated to a high IQ.