Maybe it’s true that the moment needs youthful energy and ambitious ideas to drive experimental initiatives. Why, in an era of rapid change and intensifying division and unprecedented challenges like climate change and Big Data, would we ask a person to lead whose career began six decades ago, practically in another world?
Maybe that’s a mistake. If age is a serious consideration and, we are convinced, a liability, and if white hair bespeaks accumulated privilege above all else, then the only choice for leadership is youth.
We don’t have to see age that way, though. We can seek leaders who can be relied upon to employ the privilege their age has afforded them to elevate those to whom it has been denied. Instead of a liability, we can view long years of work as an accumulation of expertise (gathered as much from failures as from wins), trust, and (critically) maturity. Those assets seem to be as much under assault in this era as any progressive conviction.
An old leader doesn’t bother me.