Michael Jordan dead at 73


CBS Corporation announced that former CBS Chairman and CEO Michael H. Jordan died late Tuesday after a long bout with cancer. Jordan would have turned 74 next month.

“We are profoundly saddened by the passing of Mike Jordan, our friend and former leader. Mike was a man of great vision and compassion whose thoughtful guidance of both Westinghouse and then CBS helped to shape the future of our company. Mike took over Westinghouse when most thought its demise was inevitable and brought it back to life, transforming the old industrial corporation into one completely focused in the media world. He was fiercely intelligent, with a great strategic mind that was able to unlock complex situations and challenges and turn them into meaningful action. He also had a wonderful, ironic sense of humor and a great love of work and of life. We owe him much, and will miss him,” said current CBS CEO Les Moonves.

It was Jordan who engineered the merger of Westinghouse with CBS and divested the industrial businesses of Westinghouse. A former Pepsi executive, Jordan took over as CEO of Westinghouse in 1993 and left the company then operating under the CBS name in 1997. Two years later his successor, Mel Karmazin, merged CBS with Viacom.

Since his exit from broadcasting, Jordan had been a general partner of General Asset Capital LLC and, most recently, CEO of EDS 2003-2007.

RBR-TVBR observation: Michael Jordan certainly qualified as a visionary. He transformed Westinghouse and, along with that, transformed the broadcasting business (particularly radio) in America’s largest markets with his blockbuster deal to merge Group W and CBS. That $5.4 billion acquisition of CBS in 1995 was huge, particularly since it occurred before the 1996 Telecommunications Act loosened ownership limits and sparked a wave of consolidation.