Home Depot co-founder, 93, slams ‘woke’ business leaders and ‘lazy’ office workers
The 93-year-old co-founder of Home Depot has attacked the current generation of business leaders for prioritizing ‘woke‘ issue at the expense of their shareholders and employees.
Bernie Marcus, who Bloomberg estimates is worth more than $5 billion, said he was horrified to see the world’s business leaders will meet in Davos this year and advocates investments in topics that ‘don’t hit the bottom line’.
“I don’t really understand the new leadership,” he said on Fox Business Network. ‘We need new managers who think about the shareholders and their employees. I think today it’s about wake, diversity – things that don’t hit the bottom line.’
Marcus also took aim at modern office workers, whom 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 his hugely successful retail business would have been suffocated of modern business culture. For that he assigned the blame to human resource managers, government bureaucrats, regulators, socialists, Harvard grads, MBAs, Harvard MBAs, lawyers, accountants, Joe Biden, the media, and the ‘woke people’.
Bernie Marcus, 93, who appears on Fox Business Network, said modern business leaders are prioritizing the ‘woke’ agenda over their shareholders and employees
Marcus is the co-founder of Home Depot. Bloomberg estimates he is worth more than $5 billion, but he has said the company would never have made it today
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 recommend spending more money on climate control when we don’t have it,” he said. “We’ve already spent too much.”
“If anything, climate control has caused most of the problems we have today,” he added, before continuing to take aim at white-collar workers.
“You can’t hire people. They don’t want to work, nobody wants to work anymore, especially office workers, he said. ‘It’s incredible.’
The entrepreneur referred to the importance of small businesses in America, which he said employed 70 percent of the nation’s workers, and blamed their uncertain future on inflation and the inability to retain staff.
“We just did a survey recently, 60 percent of small businesses think they won’t be here in the future,” he said.
A poll conducted in New York last November found that young workers had record wage expectations. The New York Federal Reserve Bank found that the lowest average annual salary workers were willing to accept from a new employer was $73,667.
When the bank began running the poll in 2014, the expectation was less than $55,000, which would be about $68,000 today when adjusted for inflation.
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market capitalization of $300 billion and annual revenue of more than $150 billion
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 and pushed past $80 billion in the first half of 2022
A poll conducted in New York last November found that young workers had record salary expectations of $73,667. When the bank started running the poll in 2014, the expectation was less than $55,000, which would be about $68,000 today when adjusted for inflation
The increase in salary expectations was most pronounced among job hunters under the age of 45, the bank noted.
That was the highest amount on record and an increase from the $57,206 they expected to pocket in July 2021 after the pandemic took its toll.
In his interview with the Financial Times, Marcus said the company he started with Arthur Blank in 1978 would not have been a success today.
“We would end up with 15, 16 stores,” he said Financial Times. “I don’t know that we can go any further.”
He added that he is worried about capitalism and said thanks to socialism: ‘No one is working. Nobody cares. “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 a member of the White House’s reopening task force during COVID. He said he has given money to both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — Trump’s potential rival for the 2024 GOP nomination.
He said: ‘It will be very interesting in ’24 because I think DeSantis will challenge him. And may the better man win.’
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market capitalization of $300 billion and annual revenue of more than $150 billion, according to Financial Times.
Home Depot is Georgia’s largest public company by revenue and had a successful 2022. In November, the home improvement retailer announced sales of $38.9 billion 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 get further’ if they started in 2022, because of people standing in the way of business
Marcus also referred to his charitable endeavors when, along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, he pledged to donate at least half of his fortune to good causes.
He has given $2 billion to over 500 organizations through the Marcus Foundation and supported the construction of the Georgia Aquarium. ‘Many people never get to see the sea. I could bring it to their doorstep,’ he wrote in his book.
The Marcus Foundation has donated to research into autism, stem cells, cancer and stroke.
In 2019, he told Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘I want to live to be 100 because I want to be able to give it away to the things that I really believe in.
‘I have all the houses I need. I live very well. My children are taken care of. All I live for now is to find the right things to put my money into and that can give me a return in emotion and do good things for this world.’