There are some individuals who generate quite different reactions, perhaps even diametrically opposed reactions at the very mention of their name. Such was the case with an individual who I came to both admire and loathe. Upon his death I’m not entirely sure if he travelled the Stairway to Heaven, or the Highway to Hell.
In this gentleman’s first coming, he was a savior of sorts to his profession. What was good for him was good for the institutions with which he was intimately involved. What advanced his personal causes pulled an entire profession up by its bootstraps. He was “kicked upstairs” to the State Capital, called to a prestigious position in healthcare where he reportedly wore out his welcome, assertiveness sometimes overshadowed by abrasiveness.
On his second coming to the institution that he built, replete with the brouhaha of a rescue mission (under circumstances that were dubious at best), his leadership style was entirely Machiavellian. It was seeing that style first-hand that caused me to lose a great deal of respect for the man. I will join the chorus of voices who sing his praises because on balance I believe that he did more good than harm. But it may be closer to a tie than he was willing to admit.