The “old, white men” problem has been rolling down crooked rails for a long time now, driven by progressive feminist radicals. In newsrooms in the 1990s, I regularly heard how a City Council or County Commission or group of Legislators were just a bunch of “old, white men” invariably from female reporters.
“White males” have long been the target of the left and their media allies in the now fully formed and mainstreamed identity politics of diversity. And now the last element has been demonstrated clearly in no less a publication than the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ Headline: “CEOs Under 50 Are a Rare Find in the S&P 500”
(Common sense: Right, because it takes a long time and experience and proof over decades to show you can run a major company.)
Drophead: “The number of S&P 500 CEOs in their 40s has declined in the past decade, leaving Gen X relatively underrepresented among corporate leaders”
(Common sense: Gen X always will be “underrepresented” because they are a particularly small generation. Duh. To the bigger point, the Greatest Generation and Gen Z are also “underrepresented.” So what? Who gives a flip?)
It’s hard to get past the vacuous headline and drophead, but doing so reveals even more of the head-shaking, worship of PC diversity, as though it is some sort of magical wand and inalienable right rolled into one. Why the Journal is doing this story is a mystery.
From the story:
At America’s largest companies, chief executives under 50 are still a relative rarity. A Wall Street Journal analysis of S&P 500 companies that filed corporate proxy statements by May 1 shows 28 of 493 CEOs, or 6%, are under 50.
While corporate-governance experts have pushed companies to appoint more diverse — and, at times, younger — directors to boards, the leaders of big companies largely remain baby boomers. The median age of a chief executive in the S&P 500 is 58, the Journal analysis of proxy data from MyLogIQ shows.
Perhaps “corporate-governance experts” — which sounds a lot like the grievance police — didn’t take math in school. The baby boomer generation is the largest generation in the nation’s history and, and, it is in its peak earning and leadership years. Of course it will be “overrepresented” (a clever little term used to determine future diversity grievance remonstrances.) Baby boomers will also be overrepresented on Social Security and Medicare. They have also been overrepresented among people paying taxes.
Do these reporters actually understand the job that a CEO does? Perhaps they picture them sitting in big corner offices, drinking cognac and smoking stogies, going for three-hour lunches and just making a few decisions with a wave of big, fat, white male fingers while everyone else actually does the work.
They sure don’t seem to understand that to be a good CEO at a mammoth firm, you need years of experience climbing the ladder so that you will understand all the rungs of the ladder and understand how to operate a giant organization. And, with few exceptions, that only happens with time. Lots of time. And lots and lots of hours and sacrifice.
Oddly enough, nearly everyone quoted in the story understands this.
For instance, here:
Many corporations pick older CEOs because those executives are seen as battle-tested, while younger executives are still considered a bit of a risk, said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.
“There is something to be said for managerial experience, and you gain that through a long time of putting in the hours,” Mr. Elson said.
And again here:
Executives in fast-changing fields like real estate say there can be value in having seen multiple economic cycles. Joseph Margolis, the 58-year-old chief executive of Extra Space Storage Inc., compares running a company with the 10,000 hours of mastery popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book “Outliers,” who suggests that those who excel in their fields typically put in that amount of practice.
“It’s a big bet to choose a CEO, and there’s a lot at stake,” Mr. Margolis said. “It’s frequently an easier choice to pick someone who’s had a little more experience.”
So where is this coming from? Why is it a big deal that most CEOs are over 50, which makes all the sense in the world? The Journal spells it out:
Any change in the ranks of CEOs would be prompted by corporate boards, because directors select who sits in the corner office. Organizations like the California State Teachers’ Retirement Systems (which invests billions and acts as activist investors) are pushing companies to bring directors with fresh perspective to boards. Still, the job requirements of a CEO are different than those of a director, and it “takes time to get to the C-level,” said Aeisha Mastagni, a portfolio manager at Calstrs.
And there it is.
Of course there are always the leftist activists to stir things up and used diversity as a cudgel. One, among many in this case, is the California teachers’ retirement system, which is an arm of the state of California. California, you may recall, passed a law requiring publicly held companies based in California to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of July 2021, companies must have at least two women on boards of five members and at least three women on boards with six or more.
Surely they will require minorities next. And eventually, there will be age requirements, too.
So it all connects. Diversity is king. Merit is meh. Old white males…well, they’re problematic.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.