Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

For all his clout in Hollywood, Martin Davis, 62, would never be mistaken for a movie mogul. He is a soft-spoken man who clearly lacks the bravura of his former boss, producer Samuel Goldwyn, for whom Davis once worked as an office boy and press agent. But Davis is a man in a hurry. He leapfrogged to the top of Gulf & Western over two more senior executives after the death of conglomerateur Charles Bluhdorn. It took Davis just six years to transform Gulf & Western from an unwieldy, 1960s-style pastiche of unrelated companies into the more focused media giant that...

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