Common Sense

Mandatory Retirement? Thanks, But No Thanks

Do you believe in mandatory retirement? You hit 65 and you hit the road? How about 60? That's the retirement age for many pilots — that I can kind of see.

But it's also the mandatory retirement age at oil giant BP. And wouldn't you know that after nearly 13 years at the helm, Lord John Browne is fast approaching that magic milestone. It is time for his lordship to taking a flying leap.

Never mind he's doing pretty well and his company's doing very well. Lord Browne is going down and all because of a date on a calendar.

I think it's nuts.

I also think it's arbitrary and stupid. I'm just glad we don't have that policy at my company, News Corp. I know it sounds gratuitous, but if Rupert Murdoch had to go when he hit 60, FOX News would have never been. And our pretty successful Chairman Roger Ailes couldn't even be chairman now.

Imagine if we applied that 60-barrier to politicians. Ronald Reagan could have never become president. And John McCain could never think about becoming president.

Lee Iacocca would have never become a legend and Sam Walton's Wal-Mart never would have been — at all. KFC would be letters because the Colonel would be supposed nursing home material.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and empires were born. I like to think not despite their makers' age. I like to think because of it.

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