Yes, it is a leadership position. But i think his point still stands. It is ~just~ another position. And its not implicitly more important, or deserving of higher pay than all other positions.
That works in a fast food restaurant because the manager has likely been trained on every position, can train new people for those positions, can spot fill any position as needed, as well as being responsible for dealing with customer issues, providing leadership, managing supply levels, scheduling, cash management, key holder, etc. He deserves to be paid more
Several reasons why I disagree but the biggest reason is that poor management can do more damage than a poor individual contributor. You want people to aspire to this position. You want people who can do all the things that your theoretically perfect fast food restaurant manager does. In every profit center (i.e., organization that makes profit - i.e., sales, consulting) that's what I have seen... the managers are usually capable, can fill in or advise on their direct-reports' tasks, in addition to the administrative functions like budget/resource/time.
I think the biggest problem is the concept of cost centers where efficiency is measured by "minimizing costs" as opposed to "making more profit".