Don’t Hire Women: They Get Pregnant And Leave

Just twelve days ago, Simon Murray became the chairman of Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodities trading firms. In what must be one of the quickest scandals ever to threaten a new top executive, Mr. Murray gave an interview that showed contempt for professional women.

According to Britain’s The Telegraph, he said that women:

“…have a tendency not to be so involved quite often and they’re not so ambitious in business as men because they’ve got better things to do. Quite often they like bringing up their children and all sorts of other things. All these things have unintended consequences. Pregnant ladies have nine months off. Do you think that means when I rush out, what I’m absolutely desperate to have is young women who are about to get married in my company, and that I really need them on board because I know they’re going to get pregnant and they’re going to go off for nine months?”

Mr. Murray was hired to lead Glencore through an already-controversial $60 billion initial public offering (IPO), in which investors and public institutions would buy shares in the Swiss-based company. But some British journalists are already speculating he may have to step down as a result of his misguided comments.

In response, Mr. Murray issued one of those lame half-apologies, in which the offender apologizes less for his offensive language than other people’s reactions to his words:

“I apologise for any offence caused by my comments regarding the role of women in business reported in the Sunday Telegraph.”

Mr. Murray should have learned from the gender landmines that have already been set off by other chief executives, including former Harvard President Larry Summers (who said women have less aptitude for science and engineering) and former Maryland comptroller William Donald Schaefer (who asked a woman 60 years his junior to walk past him again so he could check out her behind).

Most importantly, this isn’t just about Mr. Murray’s sexism. It’s about his judgment. Executives are fairly expected to exercise good judgment as leaders – and any executive who commits such an offensive unforced error should be regarded as unfit to lead.

Thank you to reader @etahpilac for sending me this story idea.

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