France: Ring Out the Old

In France, where age will be served, the elderly dominate business. One out of every four French companypresidents is 65 or older. One-third of the board members in France's 40 largest firms are past 70. And young executives grouse that their advancement is blocked by stubborn old men.

Last week the French government moved to unseat the elders. Under a bill drafted by the Cabinet for submission to the National Assembly —where its passage is practically assured—companies would be given two years to set some kind of mandatory retirement age. In firms failing to comply, all chief executives...

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