Monday, October 15, 2007

Having It All

Interesting profile in the Sunday Trib magazine about Brenda Barnes, who quit as CEO of Pepsi Cola North America to stay home with her kids, back in 1997. Now she's CEO of Sara Lee.

I'm always interested when I see someone step forward and say, it's true, raising small children is not compatible with a high-level management job. But once I got into the article, I noticed a few very interesting things:

1) Her husband quit his executive job at the same time. After a decade of living in different cities for their careers, both decided to just stop and focus on the children while they were still young. I love that. Of course, they could do this because of all the wealth they'd built up during those hard-driving corporate years.

2) Barnes didn't become a typical stay-at-home mom. She served on several corporate boards, which although not a large time committment does require travel and offer significant financial rewards.

3) When they quit their jobs, they let the nanny go. God, if I was rich, I would never drop the nanny!!

Sadly, the article says that Barnes and her husband are now getting a divorce. Of course it's impossible for strangers just reading about their marriage to understand what happened, but it was a big disappointment to me. It seemed so ideal -- the matching careers, the matching desires to slow down and focus on the family. You have to wonder if the problems started after she took the job for Sara Lee and started globe trotting again.

Finally, don't you think it's funny that whenever a male CEO is forced to resign, he always says it's to spend more time with his family, and everyone knows it's a big lie? But when Barnes stepped down and gave the same reason, everyone took it at face value.

1 comment:

Bert said...

It also could be that they divorced because, once they were in the same city living with one another every day, they discovered that they couldn't stand each other; it had just been masked by their big business lifestyles.