I want to be a CEO
My name is Rod McQueen and I want to be a CEO. Not one of those home-based businesses or some tiny tech firm, I’m scaling the corporate cliffs and getting ready for the pinnacle by looking like I deserve to be there.
First, I have to assemble the appropriate accoutrements. There will be no casual Fridays, puh-leez. I plan to get myself a few Kiton suits (at $10,000 each), a raft of Brioni shirts ($800 each), and a shelf-full of Ferragamo shoes ($1,000 per pair), and then accessorize the dress-for-success wardrobe with a top-of-the-line Cartier watch costing up to $250,000. Or maybe a Bulova from Amazon.
Hats are a rarity, but they can make a man. Maybe I’ll riff off the black beret worn by Jozef Straus, founder of JDS Uniphase. In a gesture as egalitarian as it was generous, Straus bought 20,000 berets so that he could give one to anybody who asked. I’ll give away Tilley hats so that everyone on the Aegean cruise knows I’m Canadian because no one else on earth wears a silly Tilley.
And I want to be able to smoke cigars in my office like Tony Fell, former head of RBC Dominion Securities, despite the fact that the entire building was supposed to be smoke-free. Fell’s cigar of choice was the spicy Montecristo #4. I’ll smoke the #5. It sounds bigger.
But I know full well that all of those trappings pale beside the most essential characteristic of a CEO: jargon. I’ve already been practicing this line: “You’ve got to walk the walk and talk the talk.” As I understand it, the dirtiest little CEO secret is that jock talk exists specifically to keep women out of the executive suite. That’s why so many phrases CEOs use are lifted directly from team sports, hunting, and the military.
When I get to the top, I’ll use merger and acquisition terminology that’s explicitly sexual because it’s all about seduction or, if the bid is hostile, rape. When a target company allows a potential acquisitor to look at the books before making a bid, that’s called “opening the kimono,” “raising your skirts,” or “lifting the veil.” Count me in favour of all those activities.
A final note about arms and the man. If, as CEO, I remove my suit jacket at a meeting, I’m not overheated. I’m a medieval warrior removing my armour, trying to fool you into thinking that my guard is down when it’s not. In my CEO world, chivalry is long since dead. Long live the king!