Interesting struggle: I ran into this as well and wrote something about it, but from a completely different perspective. Perhaps it might help with your conversions with your CEO.
This finding I found particular interesting.
"One example is the architectural trend we saw during the 1960s. Where we made a lot of living space with a purely functional approach in mind. Where we deemed it more important that something functioned than how it looked. This partly makes sense because of World War II, but the trend never stopped. An image above of the result. Another result is that we had to tear these buildings down after some years because nobody wanted to live in them. Funny, because they had only one function; for people to live in them anymore. And the only thing these buildings where suppose to do: they didn’t. This is a great example of functionalism, where Roger Scruton famously said: “The functionalism did not function”. And why do we want to live in the carefully designed buildings? They simple make us feel better."
Isn't this basically what Eli Schiff was saying all along?
The problem with this article and the non-sense that Eli Schiff was writing about is that they view visual design / aesthetics as some separate layer from the function. The form IS the function.