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Ask the CEO: Is Criticism of Schumer and Pelosi Ageism

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I received a comment from a reader on my last column.

Here’s the gist of it:

“I did not tweet or post (your last column) because of the ageist comment/s made about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I have no problem with them being criticized as lackluster, but not because of their age.”

Here’s my response:


Thank you for being a reader and taking the time to give me your opinion.

The big-four accounting firms have all of their people retire at age 60. All of their people no matter how “good” they are.

I’m 59. I’m going to turn over my leadership this year to a woman who has been working for me for 17 years. She’s 38.

I will remain as chairman. We are working on three strategic deals. I will be an advisor to her as she executes her duties. I mentored her and gave her regularly increased responsibility to prepare her. She’s ready. And she’s really good.

Nancy Pelosi (78), Chuck Schumer (69), Steny Hoyer (79), Dianne Feinstein (85), Jim Clyburn (77) and dozens of other representatives and senators are too old for their positions of authority.

There’s evidence: Donald J. Trump (72) is the culmination of older people not mentoring new leadership and developing people so they can step aside in a timely manner. The absence of leadership in BOTH political parties led to Trump, who is the ultimate expression of incompetence.

I’ve been around long enough to see that the “60 and out” policy is wise. In the past 10 years, I’ve also seen a generational change in CEOs. Changes in technology and culture have made almost every personal experience previous to 2005 irrelevant.

Cognitive decline is a fact of life. I’ve been on boards and advisory groups that were made ineffective by old people hogging the floor and telling the room why “It can’t be done because this is what was tried in 1972.”

The smarter, young people simply won’t hang around the ones with limited opportunities hang around and wait, like vultures, and become the new leadership, an ever-decreasing talent cycle. This is exactly what happened to our government the average age of Congress is the highest it’s ever been (representatives average 57.8, senators 61.8) has been increasing for years and just look at the absolute disgrace we have for a president.

The percentage of eligible voters, especially young ones, who don’t bother to vote, is telling. Pelosi and Schumer have absolutely no motivational skills. Hillary Clinton couldn’t lead the average person to a cold bottle of water in August.

If Pelosi and Schumer cared for our country more than themselves, they would’ve taken a look at the video of their performance last week and retired, immediately. Sure, everyone had a good time creating memes, but a golden opportunity to cut the legs out from under a bumbling despot (Thomas Friedman kindly described the President as an ignoramus Friday night) was lost because of ego.

Can you imagine a well-mentored Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivering a withering attack on Trump’s lies, contradictions, fear-mongering, hate and incompetence and presenting compelling solutions We are watching a humanitarian disgrace perpetrated on innocent people asking for asylum at the door of the world’s most powerful nation and the best the whole United States all 330 million of us can do to advocate for the right thing are two stiffs

Donald J. Trump is a threat to civilization. He’s also a criminal (just try to name someone sued by more people).

Effective leadership would’ve gotten rid of him in six months (Mueller is 74, just what in the heck is taking so long is beyond my comprehension). The leadership of both parties is ineffective, incompetent, frozen and above all, SELFISH.

The answer is NOT going to come from Mitch McConnell (76) or Chuck “women don’t want to do the hard work” Grassley (85).

“60 and out” may indeed oust some people before their best days are behind them, but in return, we get the leadership of younger people for a longer time. I also recognize that, although most people retire before 65, many people can’t.

But the workforce participation numbers tell me that almost everyone would retire around 60 if they could. I’d posit that enabling people to retire at 60 would increase overall productivity and, in turn, our GDP.

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