Lucy P. Marcus interviewed on Monocle 24 Radio "The Monocle Daily"

Lucy spoke with “The Monocle Daily” about hobbies and habits of CEOs, what it says about them, and whether it is an extension of their brand, the changing attitude of companies and company boards to support these hobbies, and why we don’t hear so much about women CEOs and their hobbies.


As I was thinking through this question I was able to come up with several men:

Richard Branson and his well-known love of hot air balloons and other risky sky related adventures; Larry Ellison of Oracle and his passion for sailing and also he lives in a Japanese style mansion and is fascinated by Samurai warriors; Warren Buffet and Bill Gates share a keen interest in the card game bridge; Ralph Lauren owns rare automobiles. Some people love opera, collect art, golf, own vinyards, etc.

One thing did strike me, however. I was hard pressed to come up with any women who are known for unusual or eccentric hobbies.

All I came up with were that Oprah and Martha Stewart both seem to like dogs, and Martha’s hobbies are an extension of her brand and Oprah’s makes her look like a fairly nice person, and the Queen likes dogs and horses and but I’m not sure that counts, though it is in many ways British so it is an extension of her brand…

I was so puzzled I asked twitter and facebook (I’m a big twitter and social media fan) and we were all pretty hard pressed to come up with any examples of women! (If you’ve got any please tweet me via @lucymarcus and I’ll share the best ones, because it has started a big discussion amongst my friends and I’d like to share any examples)

We are all wondering if it is a reflection of men being seen as cool if they have interesting hobbies whereas women might come off as frivolous or not working hard enough if they are seen to have hobbies.

There is one thing that I can say – times have changed and in these difficult times you’d be hard pressed to find a board or investors who’d be willing to pay for a CEOs hobby. Perhaps in the boom times you’d have been able to put paying for supporting personal interests under sponsorship or charitable giving, but that would raise a few eyebrows now.


23 January 2012


Monocle 24 Radio "The Monocle Daily"

Monocle 24 Radio "The Monocle Daily"

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