Do we need managers? Simon Blackburn kicked off a debate about the theory. But Channel Five has come up with something better - an empirical test. It's going to be without a hands-on chief executive for the next 12 months. It's fortune will therefore be (albeit only) one datapoint of evidence.
Here's my hypothesis. The headline in the FT's story is wholly wrong. Channel Five will not be without direction for the next 12 months. It'll head in whatever direction it was heading in before Jane Lighting left. If it was heading for trouble, it'll hit trouble. And if it wasn't, it'll do OK.
The main contribution chief executives make is to change corporate direction through big decisions (such as poaching Carol Vorderman from Channel 4), restructuring or refinancing the company. Otherwise, firms run themselves through force of habit - people don't need leadership to carry on doing what they're doing. Indeed, the lack of a chief executive might be a positive help, as people spend more time doing their jobs rather than sucking up to the boss.
And herein lies the problem with assessing how Channel Five will cope without a boss. If it does run into trouble, this could be evidence that Ms Lighting had set a bad direction, and the firm would have done badly had she remained CEO.
So I fear the debate about the value of managers will remain largely theoretical.