As a young boy, I was always absorbed in books about history—particularly that of the United States—and geography, yet still managed a healthy appetite of sports and a weekly outing to see the latest cowboy or adventure movie. Later, I was exposed to the Broadway stage and developed a great fondness for musical theater, at one point picturing it as a future career choice. But alas, as I grew older and realized I was not that talented, I became more serious about the future.
Fortunately, I wound up in a creative segment of the business world, which provided me the opportunity to travel the globe and stimulated my interest in world history. It also opened avenues into entertainment and politics. I found a home in the fashion industry and served as President of Charles of the Ritz Group, Ltd., then a wholly owned subsidiary of Squibb Corporation, where I also served on its Board of Directors. Here, I was deeply involved with well-known fashion designers, Yves Saint Laurent and Gianni Versace; Hollywood stars, Linda Evans and John Forsythe; and because of the success of the perfume, Opium, wound up in Washington meeting with senators, representatives and administration officials to obtain relief from gray market goods flooding the United States in the early 1980’s.
After my retirement, I wrote two novels based on my many years of experience in the fashion industry, and continually pursued my interest in history. Following a short break to write a non-fiction book on the relationship of taxes and jobs, I spent much of my time these past several years studying the biblical account of the rise of Christianity from the varying narratives of religion, history and archaeology. The results of that research were a source of information and inspiration for my wife, Leslie Schweitzer Miller, in writing her first novel, DISCOVERY.
Now my interest is in public policy on issues that affect the United States such as healthcare, taxes, job creation and foreign affairs, about which I will be commenting periodically.
OPIUM and the Gray Market
Opium, created by Yves Saint Laurent and developed, produced, marketed and distributed by Charles of the Ritz Group, Ltd., of which I was President and CEO, became one of the most successful fragrances ever sold worldwide. But that success created enormous problems, shared with virtually all major brand name consumer product companies as gray market goods flooded the United States. To appreciate the magnitude of the problem, you need to understand what gray market goods are and why they create such havoc in the marketplace.See More