I first started pondering this while conducting a telephone interview with the indefatigable Lord Hanson, famed for his takeover battles during the 1980s.
The great man is 81, yet remains as sharp as ever. He mentioned in passing that he had once been approached to buy the Daily Telegraph, saving it from the clutches of Conrad Black. He responded with the fabulous put-down that he didn’t ‘do media’. Very wise, too: just ask Lord Hollick.
My thoughts returned to the subject of age and business while writing about Robert Tchenguiz and his bid for Selfridge’s. Tchenguiz’s backers included ‘Black’ Jack Dellal, the splendidly named property speculator.
Dellal, famed for his skill on the gaming tables, shows no sign of slowing down, at 79. Bids aside, he recently remarried and has fathered two more children to add to his brood.
Then came my old friend, Alfred Taubman. Recently released from prison,Taubman, 79, has a raft of business interests to occupy him, not least the family stake in Sotheby’s. The Taubman shopping centre business is currently fighting a takeover battle, which should help concentrate the mind.
Men like Warren Buffett, at 72, start to sound like mere striplings.
With pensions the way they are, it should surprise none of us if we’re still working well into our seventies.
Perhaps that’s no bad thing. Lord Hanson only retired at 76. But then, it helps if you have a few million in the bank.
- Jon Ashworth, business features editor at The Times.
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