Posted on February 3, 2023

Home Depot Co-Founder, 93, Slams ‘Woke Generation’ of Business Leaders for Caring More About ‘Diversity’

Neirin Gray Desai, Daily Mail, February 1, 2023

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’.

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.

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.