I was heartbroken to hear this morning that Mark passed away. We all started together. It was just so few of us betting that NBC could launch a business news network. I remember us all sitting on boxes in Fort Lee (2200 Fletcher Avenue).
I negotiated Mark's first deal and we had a long talk about the fact that he had gone to law school and never loved the law and that broadcasting was his passion ... and it must have been, because when we hired Mark, he worked for very little money, but he was always happy.
He loved it. He loved it as a startup, and as CNBC became the preeminent voice in America for business news, he loved it even more. Mark took a lot of pride in the fact that he helped make CNBC the number one business news network and a hugely successful business for NBC.
It wasn't fun negotiating a deal with Mark. He had the growl of a lion, but he had a great heart ... and most of the time he talked about how much he loved being on the air, interviewing business leaders, and, most importantly, speaking the truth. Nobody I have ever worked with in broadcasting was more of a truth teller than Mark, and that is why I always put the volume up when he was on the air.
He said what many of us were thinking, but were afraid to say. Mark was the epitome of truth to power... and the interesting thing was that Mark was an incredibly talented interviewer and a very challenging interview, but if you could get by Mark, you really felt you had accomplished something ... so, the great business leaders lined up over the years to sit down with Mark so they would be able to say that they did it, got through it, and survived.