Bob Wright, former chairman and CEO of NBCUniversal, said Wednesday he believes the Republican Party is at a crossroads, and this week's convention in Cleveland may be the last one with the GOP intact.
"There's every reason to believe the Republican Party should split into groups that are focused on social issues and other groups focused on more secular issues and Main Street [and the economy]," argued Wright, a supporter of Donald Trump, who on Tuesday was officially nominated by the GOP to go up against the presumptive Democratic choice, Hillary Clinton.
But the strained unity of the party has been on display at the convention, with House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday night calling for Republicans to come together. The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee has, at times, displayed his own reluctance to support Trump.
On Wednesday night, the speakers include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and a video message from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — all of whom sought the nomination but came up short against Trump.
"They're trying to give a good presence of unification. But those divisions ... are not going away so easily," Wright said. "They are going to get on the bandwagon of supporting the candidate, but obviously you're seeing they're pulling their punches."
Calling Trump an "agent for change," Wright told CNBC's "Squawk Box" the billionaire businessman might, in fact, "even drive" the GOP fissure if he's elected to the White House.
"If [Trump] is going to get elected, he has to get independent votes; he's got to get some Democratic votes; he has to get some minority votes," said Wright, who said he's a "registered Republican" but supported Barack Obama for president in the 2008 election.
"It's time for change. That's my focus. We really can't continue doing it was Bushes and Clintons," Wright said, adding Trump is "very accustomed" to getting things done in business.
Wright, who was no longer at NBC at the time, said the network's 2015 decision to part ways with Trump, after controversial comments connecting Mexican immigrants to drugs and crime, was appropriate.
"They were both doing business," Wright said, understanding NBC's concern that Trump's remarks could turn off Latino viewers of its Spanish-language channel Telemundo.
But Wright sees why Trump chose to launch his campaign for the White House in such an explosive way. Trump needed to stand out in a crowded field and it worked, he said.
"The reality is all of a sudden people saw a person willing to talk about issues that don't get talked about in campaigns," he continued. "There are so many people out there talking around those issues. And he goes right through them."
There are people who both support and criticize Trump for speaking his mind, but the fact remains, that approach has propelled him to become the Republican presidential nominee, Wright said.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.