The 93-year-old co-founder of Home Depot has attacked the current generation of business leaders for prioritizing ‘woke’ issues at the expense of their shareholders and employees.
Bernie Marcus, who Bloomberg estimates is worth more than $5billion, said he was dismayed to see the world’s business leaders meeting in Davos this year and advocating investment in issues that ‘don’t hit the bottom line’.
‘I don’t really understand the new leadership,’ he said on Fox Business Network. ‘We need new leaders who are thinking about the shareholders and their employees. I think today it’s all about woke, diversity – things that don’t hit the bottom line.’
Marcus took aim at modern office workers too, who he accused of being lazy and entitled with expectations of short hours. ‘They want to work three days a week,’ he said.
His comments came after he told the Financial Times in December that his hugely successful retail company would have been suffocated by modern business culture. For that he assigned blame to human resources executives, government bureaucrats, regulators, socialists, Harvard graduates, MBAs, Harvard MBAs, lawyers, accountants, Joe Biden, the media and ‘the woke people’.
Bernie Marcus, 93, appearing on Fox Business Network, said that modern business leaders prioritize the ‘woke’ agenda over their shareholders and employees
Marcus is a co-founder of Home Depot. Bloomberg estimates he is worth more than $5billion but he has said the business would never have made it today
When asked this month what he would like to see in future business leaders, he said: ‘I certainly don’t want to see the woke generation coming up, especially the leaders.’
‘I’m watching what happened in Davos, they’re recommending spending more money on climate control, when we don’t have it,’ he said. ‘We’ve already overspent.’
‘If anything climate control has caused most of the problems we have today,’ he added, before going on to take aim at white collar workers too.
‘You can’t hire people. They don’t want to work, nobody wants to work anymore, especially office people,’ he said. ‘It’s incredible.’
The entrepreneur referred to the importance of small businesses in America, which he said hired 70 percent of the country’s workers, and blamed their uncertain future on inflation and an inability to retain staff.
‘We just did a survey recently, 60 percent of small businesses believe they will not be here in the future,’ he said.
A poll conducted in New York last November found that young workers had record-high salary expectations. The New York Federal Reserve Bank found the lowest average annual pay workers were willing to accept from a new employer was $73,667.
When the bank began running the poll in 2014 that expectation was less than $55,000, which would be around $68,000 today taking inflation into account.
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market capitalization of $300billion and an annual revenue of more than $150billion
Home Depot honchos CEO Bernie Marcus (left) and Arthur Blank (right) started their successful business in 1978
Home Depot hailed record sales in the first two fiscal quarters of the year, pushing over $80billion in the first half of 2022
A poll conducted in New York last November found that young workers had record-high salary expectations of $73,667. When the bank began running the poll in 2014 that expectation was less than $55,000, which would be around $68,000 today taking inflation into account
The increase in salary expectations was most pronounced among job hunters under the age of 45, the bank noted.
It was the highest amount recorded and an increase on the $57,206 they expected to pocket in July 2021 after the pandemic had dealt its blow.
In his interview with the Financial Times, Marcus said the company he began with Arthur Blank in 1978 wouldn’t have been successful today.
‘We would end up with 15, 16 stores,’ he told the Financial Times. ‘I don’t know that we could go further.’
He added that he’s worried about capitalism and said thanks to socialism, ‘Nobody works. Nobody gives a damn. “Just give it to me. Send me money. I don’t want to work – I’m too lazy, I’m too fat, I’m too stupid.”‘
Marcus was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and member of the White House reopening task force during COVID. He said he has given money to both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – Trump’s potential rival for the 2024 GOP nomination.
He said: ‘It’s going to be very interesting in ‘24 because I think that DeSantis will challenge him. And may the better man win.’
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market cap of $300billion and an annual revenue of more than $150billion, according to the Financial Times.
Home Depot is Georgia’s largest public company based on revenue and had a successful 2022. In November, the home improvement retailer announced sales of $38.9billion for the third quarter of 2022, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year
Marcus, seen here with Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, said: ‘We would end up with 15, 16 stores. I don’t know that we could go further’ if they started in 2022, because of people standing in the way of the business community
Marcus also referred to his charitable endeavors, having joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in pledging to donate at least half his fortune to good causes.
He has given $2billion to over 500 organizations through the Marcus Foundation and backed the construction of the Georgia Aquarium. ‘A lot of people never get to see the ocean. I could bring it to their doorstep,’ he wrote in his book.
The Marcus Foundation has donated towards research on autism, stem cells, cancer, strokes.
In 2019, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘I want to live to be 100 because I want to be in a position to give it away to those things that I really believe in.
‘I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world.’
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