Published on: October 27, 2014
Responding to last week's story about the news that at Safeway, three of the company's top executives, including two highly ranked women, will be leaving the company shortly after the planned acquisition by Albertsons is completed, one MNB user wrote:The news of Albertsons-Safeway anointing a boys club to the C-suite is about as surprising as a Tea Party rally in Texas. It’s reminiscent of the collapse of Supervalu, when Sam Duncan (a pre-baby boomer Albertsons guy) came out of retirement and fired every division president who was either female or a person of color. I tend to think that the rank and file at Albertsons still celebrate their hard-fought divorce from Supervalu, but this latest move might leave them wondering if the soul-sucking really stopped when Supervalu sank.
The three execs are Larree Renda,the company's executive vice president and chair of The Safeway Foundation, who has been with Safeway for forty years; Diane Dietz, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, who joined Safeway six years ago after a career at Procter & Gamble; and Pete Bocian, executive vice president/CFO, who joined the company in 2013.
From another reader:Seriously? Why is anyone surprised by Cerberus cutting the female heads at Safeway? They did the exact same thing at Albertsons and SUPERVALU. Qualified women, many who were named as PG Top Women in Grocery, were packaged out or left voluntarily when they saw the writing on the wall. In the wake of the "old white guys society" Janel Haugarth may be the only one who survived. Larree and Diane are as outstanding and strong as Janel, I hope to see them, and a few others, join forces and show the good ole boys what the new century looks like.
In my commentary last week, I wrote, in part:I expect that they'll all have successful post-Safeway careers … they are all young, with plenty of gas left in their tanks. (I would guess they all already are fielding inquiries and that they sit high on the list of potential "gets" compiled by executive search firms.)
This led MNB reader Linda Wish to write:WHAAAAAA?????????????
You are usually an advocate for judging individuals by their abilities. This statement makes it seem that you would understand if these folks did not get next jobs due to advanced age?
So you are now indicating that ageism is understandable?
I am sure this is a slip of the keyboard. It is so unlike you.
In the words from Cool Hand Luke
, what we have here is a failure to communicate.
I don't think I was saying that at all. At least, that was not my intention.
I was just saying that these three people hardly seem like they are at the end of their careers, and therefore there will be plenty of doors and opportunities open to them. I'm not suggesting in any way, shape, or form that ageism is appropriate or understandable … but I do think it is fair to say as we get older there are some options no longer as available to us.
When I said they were young, I was thinking that they all probably are younger than I am. And that's my definition of young. I don't think I offended any of them with my comments, and I hope my sentiments were not widely misconstrued.
Ironically, we also had a story last week about a study that seemed to prove that you really are only as old as you think you are, and that there are ways to connect the body to what the mind believes.
To which MNB reader Beatrice Orlandini responded:Which only goes to prove that "age is a question of mind over matter; if you don't mind it doesn't matter."
Another MNB reader wrote:This simply reinforces what I firmly believe;
Retiring will make you old before your time.
Work as long as you can, not as long as you need to.
Don't move to a retirement community.
Make sure you hang out with young people.