Passing the Baton

When To Step Down?

by Timothy Tay

The Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey, had announced his resignation at the age of 75 after reaching the mandatory retirement age for bishops and archbishops introduced by Pope Paul VI (the pope holds his position for life). Rupert Murdoch is 80 and is still on top of his business and now facing the biggest challenge in his life which may wipe out his fortunes and reputation.

When do a person in influential position considers stepping aside?

Death, failing health and catastrophic changes and events often become the deciding factors apart from mandatory retirement just mentioned. Even before the current crisis that hit Murdoch and his corporate empire built around News Corporation I have often pondered why hasn’t Mr Murdoch consider passing the baton to his successor? We can certainly rule out the lack of wealth or even having more desirable life achievements before retiring in Rubert Murdoch’s case.

He has both abundantly.

The decision to retire may depend on the availability and suitability of successor(s).

Mr Murdoch had placed his children in key roles with varying degrees of success. Lachlan Murdoch lost millions in OneTel,1)OneTel ABC Friday Dec 4 2009 Sunday Profile Story | | | however, Rupert Murdoch himself had presided over the buying and eventual disposal of another failed tech setup – Myspace.com. In all fairness Mr Murdoch did invest heavy in grooming his children to be effective CEOs in their own rights but nevertheless the bucks still stop with him.

Ted Turner, a media tycoon and once a very formidable rival to Murdoch, retired in his prime and gave a sizeable fortune to United Nations. On retirement he spent much time at his massive cattle ranches while pursuing social causes that caught his fancy. Incidentally, it was Turner who predicted 30 years ago what was called print journalism as “an obsolete way of distributing information”.2)Ted Turner Wiki

Unlike Turner and other media tycoons that Murdoch had successfully outfoxed the latter had succeeded in establishing himself as the undisputed media king of the world. A very powerful position indeed if you consider how media charts the course of political, business and other society leaders.  Just recently PM Gillard blamed the press for the lack of support for her carbon tax plans. And this preeminent position of influence that Mr Murdoch enjoys is what I like to suggest  to be the prime reason why he is holding on to power.

The Deceitfulness of Power

In history we can find many leaders who had held on to power way beyond their used-by-dates.

The supreme leaders of the Soviet era – Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev – had done that to the detriment of the people of USSR. Mr Gorbachev, realising the inevitable bankruptcy and disintegration of the union due to bad policies of the past regimes, had the unenviable task of breaking up of the USSR in order to save Russia.

Mao Tze Tung unleashed the Cultural Revolution to satisfy his power urge which resulted in China’s growth been cut back by a decade with millions of Chinese perished as a consequence of Mao’s mistakes. After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping started China off in transforming the nation into what had become of it today.

We can include Mr Mubarak and Col Gadhafi in this die-hard grouping.

Even the last Liberal PM, John Howard, who could have enjoyed a more dignified retirement had made the costly mistake to stand for another term with the hope of being the longest stayer at the Lodge.

Of all the examples that one can think of whose time had come to step down but had not none apply more appropriately than Satan or Lucifer.  In all creation there is no one created more powerfully than Satan, created as the archangel, but who at this lofty position decided to rebel against his Creator. (Ezekiel 28)

I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly on the utmost heights. I will ascend above the top of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

The dictum, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, applies to Satan absolutely.

But take comfort for Jesus had overcome Satan, the Prince of this world, and served him the eviction notice through the passage of the Cross (John 12:31; John 16:33) so that Satan will forever stand condemned in the sight of God. (John 14:30; 16:11)

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

References   [ + ]

1. OneTel ABC Friday Dec 4 2009 Sunday Profile Story | | |
2. Ted Turner Wiki

Timothy Tay

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