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|Memories of VideoDisc - Who's Who in VideoDisc|
Anthony Conrad joined RCA after military service in World War II. He rose through the ranks of the RCA Service Company, at one point managing RCA's satellite operations at Cape Canaveral, and later became President of RCA Service. In 1968 he joined the corporate staff in New York as Vice President for Education Systems and soon thereafter became Executive Vice President, Services. On May 5, 1970 he was elected to the RCA Board at the Annual Meeting. He was again promoted on August 1, 1971 to President and Chief Operating Officer of RCA Corporation. In these roles it was believed he would be a detail man for the corporation, freeing Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Sarnoff for other tasks. Anthony Conrad immediately became CEO on November 5, 1975 following the dramatic ouster of Robert Sarnoff by the RCA Board, and on June 2, 1976 the Board of Directors appointed Conrad to the position of Chairman as well.
At a meeting of RCA shareholders in August 1976, Conrad stated that VideoDisc introduction would take place in 1978, contingent on expected technical progress, which was difficult with the multi-layer discs then under development. RCA operated smoothly under Anthony Conrad until September 13, 1976 when he called a special meeting of the Board of Directors. At that meeting, Conrad revealed that he had not filed any personal federal income tax forms since 1971. Although he wanted to temporarily step aside while the matter was resolved, the Board pressed for formal resignation, which was announced after the meeting. Edgar Griffiths was chosen as Andy Conrad's successor, and it was he who eventually made the decision to introduce CED to the market.
Anthony Conrad's failure to file tax forms for five years remains somewhat of a mystery to the present day. The federal government already had withholdings on his then $300,000 a year salary for each of the five years, so there was no financial gain in not filing the forms, and no criminal intent was ever suggested. It is speculated that he simply procrastinated about doing taxes. After leaving RCA, Anthony Conrad dropped out of the public eye, and passed away on January 9, 1984 at the age of 62.
Listen to Andy Conrad's 1973 comments on Lum Fong - RCA's first successful VideoDisc.
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