In Praise of Roy Ash

The New York Times announces that Roy Ash has passed away.

Earlier, as a private citizen, Mr. Ash headed a commission appointed by Nixon to recommend ways to reorganize the executive branch. He said his managerial experience juggling scores of companies at once had helped him in that effort.

The panel’s recommendations led to the creation of some of the most prominent agencies in Washington today, consolidating functions in each that had been spread throughout the federal government, among them the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Before he was OMB Director, he built Litton Industries up from a $1.5 million dollar investment to a company with total sales over $2.5 billion. But the most interesting part is this:

The rise of Mr. Ash, whom journalists called “the human computer,” was considered a Horatio Alger tale. Too poor to go to college, Mr. Ash was accepted in the legendary statistics division of the Army Air Forces, home to brilliant young men like Robert S. McNamara, the future defense secretary. Harvard Business School accepted Mr. Ash without a college diploma, and he graduated first in his class.

RIP, Roy Ash.