Why are only female CEOs asked how they balance the responsibility of parenthood with work?
This is the question posed by Max Schireson, 44-year-old CEO of the software company MongoDB, in a personal blog post titled “Why I’m leaving the best job I ever had”:
Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.
While the press haven’t asked me, it is a question that I often ask myself.
Finding no satisfactory answer, Schireson stepped down. He no longer has to commute from Palo Alto to New York regularly to run the billion dollar company, and is instead transitioning into a normal full-time position as Vice Chairman. Now he has more time to spend with his three kids, ages 14, 12, and 9, “skiing, cooking, playing backgammon, swimming, watching movies or Warriors or Giants games, talking, whatever.”
Schireson acknowledged that stepping down from his current position could jeopardize future CEO opportunities, potentially costing him millions of dollars, but he said that it was a conscious decision and he was choosing to prioritize his family.
Schireson’s wife also has a fascinating career: as well as being a doctor and professor at Stamford, she runs a training program for high-risk obstetricians. Of his wife, Schireson wrote, she does it while being “a fantastic mom, brilliant, beautiful, and infinitely patient with me.”
(Aw, excuse me while I wipe this tear off my laptop.)
Moral of the story: dads need work-life balance, too.