Born: Athens, Tenn.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Tennessee; J.D., New York University
Whom do you admire most in the business world and why?
Fred Smith (CEO of FedEx). I’ve followed Fred and known him somewhat for a long time, and from a very early stage, he saw a business model that he believed in. ... He’s taken some risks and made some mistakes, but he’s taken some risks and made some great investments, and he continues to see around corners and never be satisfied.
During your time working for President Reagan, what was your favorite moment?
The one event I remember most vividly was when I went in to brief the president that we had learned that both John Poindexter and Oliver North had testified under oath that Ronald Reagan was not aware of the diversion of funds from Iranian arms sales to the Nicaraguan rebels, which of course substantiated the president’s statement since day one since the diversion of the proceeds to the contras was first disclosed, President Reagan said he did not know about the diversion of funds. Howard Baker and Vice President Bush were in the Oval Office, and so I reported that development, and of course, the vice president and Chief of Staff Baker expressed great relief, and President Reagan was almost angry. He said, ‘Why is everyone so relieved? I told you all along that I did not know about the diversion of funds,’ which once again substantiated that the president was telling the truth, but also showed his view that good people would not lie just to help their own defense which is something as a lawyer you always worry about, that someone is always trying to find someone else to blame if they’re in trouble.