Did Cardinal Ratzinger (search) get the top job at the Vatican because he's apparently in top shape? We'll probably never know. But this much we do know about the 78-year-old Pope Benedict XVI: He's remarkably fit.
Don't think that didn't go unnoticed by voting cardinals, who remembered all too well the steadily declining health of Pope John Paul II. And not just at the Vatican.
Corporate boards are doing the same thing — at companies like McDonald's for good reason.
About a year ago, the company lost its highly valued CEO Jim Cantalupo (search) to a heart attack. His successor, Charlie Bell (search) came in, but didn't stay long. Diagnosed with colon cancer, he dies a few months later.
The latest issue Newsweek raises the issue of headhunting firms sizing up not just a candidate's financial health, but their personal health as well.
It's a slippery slope. After all, I know some physically ill leaders who carry on quite nicely in their jobs. And the History Channel special on Franklin Roosevelt proved his paralysis didn't exactly paralyze his ability to lead a nation.
But presidents and CEOs should be held to a different standard, precisely because they're presidents and CEOs — of whom much is expected and even more demanded.
So, it's fitting we ask our leaders to be fit, even though some might have fits we want to know they're fit in the first place.
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