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Mayor, 70, Nods Little to Age 

By Michael Howard Saul

Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City’s 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.

Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine’s Day, but the mayor typically hasn’t allowed his senior status to get him down. The billionaire likes to say tomorrow will always be his best day, and maybe it doesn’t hurt that 25-year-old Lady Gaga kissed him smack on the lips this New Year’s Eve.

Bloomberg Through the Years

Bloomberg Through the Years

In honor of Mr. Bloomberg’s 70th birthday, The Wall Street Journal asked two image consultants to look at photographs of the mayor and evaluate whether time and the rigors of City Hall have accelerated his aging, as some believe the White House dramatically speeds up the aging of presidents.

Their conclusion: The mayor looks good.
“He hasn’t really changed that much,” said Laura Rubeli, a Las Vegas-based image consultant who is originally from New York.

“For a 70-year-old man, I think he looks fantastic. I really do. In my opinion, he looks fabulous.”

Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, agreed: “It doesn’t look like he’s aged at all,” she said.

Ms. Sanders said it is remarkable how little the mayor appears to have changed in the past decade, given how much older President Barack Obama looks after three years in office.

“Obama has aged. I don’t know if that’s stress related. Every time I see him, I’m thinking ‘My! Has he been in office that long?'” Ms. Sanders said.

Unlike Mr. Obama, who is 50, Mr. Bloomberg already sported a head of gray hair when he took office. But the image consultants said the mayor had retained something harder to pinpoint.
“Michael Bloomberg looks very cool, sort of unscathed, unchanged,” Ms. Sanders said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Then and Now

By the end of his third term, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the oldest serving mayor since the city was consolidated in 1898. As he turns 70, compare photos of the mayor taken nearly a decade apart.

Mr. Bloomberg has been watching his diet over the years, especially during his first term when photographs showed a growing mayoral paunch. The divorced father of two daughters has been with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, 57, the former state banking commissioner, since before he was elected.

During an appearance Monday at a fashion-related event in Midtown Manhattan, he received high praise from designer Diane von Furstenberg. When a reporter asked if she had any fashion advice for the mayor, she said the mayor is “so hot—he doesn’t need any.”

Over the years, Mr. Bloomberg has maintained a normal public schedule on his birthday, going to events and making announcements. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to swear in judges in Manhattan and appear at a charity fund-raiser. Last year, he cut a birthday cake presented at a Brooklyn Brewery event, but he has otherwise celebrated privately.

Mr. Bloomberg has remained active and makes few noticeable accommodations for his age. Several years ago, he experimented with a hearing aide but he hasn’t appeared to be wearing one recently. A City Hall spokesman didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.

When the mayor turned 65, he became eligible for a reduced-fare MetroCard, not that the billionaire mayor needs any discounts. And more than once, he’s proudly displayed his AARP membership card.

Records of New York City mayors since 1898 reveal Mr. Bloomberg is neck and neck with former Mayor Abraham Beame to be the city’s oldest serving mayor. Mr. Beame was 71 when his term ended in December 1977. If Mr. Bloomberg finishes out his term next year, he, too, will be 71, but since his birthday is in February and Mr. Beame’s was in March, Mr. Bloomberg would be the city’s oldest serving mayor in the final weeks of his third term.

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who was 65 when he left office and is 87 now, said the mayor is a spring chicken compared with him. “At age 70 in today’s society, he would be perceived as middle-aged—and he should make the most of it,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg has said he plans to focus his attention on his philanthropic efforts after he leaves City Hall.

Bobbie Sackman, an advocate for senior citizens, described the mayor’s record on the elderly as “mixed,” noting severe budget cuts.

But she said she hopes the birthday reminds him that seniors need the city’s help.

“His wealth will obviously make his aging process different than the average person’s,” Ms. Sackman said.

wsj

 

Want to Be CEO? What’s Your BMI?

By Leslie Kwoh

MK-CA220_FITEXE_G_20130115165602Being fit matters.

New research suggests that a few extra pounds or a slightly larger waistline affects an executive’s perceived leadership ability as well as stamina on the job.

While marathon training and predawn workouts aren’t explicitly part of a senior manager’s job description, leadership experts and executive recruiters say that staying trim is now virtually required for anyone on track for the corner office.

“Because the demands of leadership can be quite strenuous, the physical aspects are just as important as everything else,” says Sharon McDowell-Larsen, an exercise physiologist who runs an executive-fitness program for the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership.

Executives with larger waistlines and higher body-mass-index readings tend to be perceived as less effective in the workplace, both in performance and interpersonal relationships, according to data compiled by CCL. BMI, a common measure of body fat, is based on height and weight.

While weight remains a taboo conversation topic in the workplace, it’s hard to overlook. A heavy executive is judged to be less capable because of assumptions about how weight affects health and stamina, says Barry Posner, a leadership professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. He says he can’t name a single overweight Fortune 500 CEO. “We have stereotypes about fat,” he adds, “so when we see a senior executive who’s overweight, our initial reaction isn’t positive.”

CCL staff detected the correlation after collecting hundreds of peer-performance reviews and health-screening results from the CEOs and other senior-level managers who participate in its weeklong leadership workshops in Colorado Springs. A pair of university researchers, using data from 757 executives measured between 2006 and 2010, found that weight may indeed influence perceptions of leaders among subordinates, peers and superiors.

Tim McNair, a general manager at Nazareth, Pa.-based guitar maker C.F. Martin & Co., says he was inspired to make some changes after spotting his “gut” on camera during a recent public-speaking exercise while attending the CCL workshop.

He wondered whether his colleagues had the same reaction to his appearance, he says, adding: “Would they think, ‘If he can’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar, how can he do his job?'”

So the 44-year-old, who says his peers’ evaluations were somewhat harsh, recently rejoined the local gym, where he heads after work at least three days a week to run on the treadmill, cycle or stretch. He has also given up double cheeseburgers, steak, ice cream, Coca-Cola and Tastykakes, opting for a healthier diet of grains and vegetables. In four months, he has shed about 25 pounds.

The fitness imperative for executives is relatively new, says Ana Dutra, the CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. Time was, a company chief spent every waking minute at work, sacrificing exercise, vacation and kids’ soccer games in the service of the firm. Employees were expected to admire and emulate this devotion. Now, executives are expected to take time off to “revitalize themselves,” Ms. Dutra says.

She pegs the shift to the sudden deaths of high-profile CEOs, including McDonald’s Corp. MCD +0.62% chief Jim Cantalupo, who died of a heart attack in 2004, 16 months after taking the post. His successor, Charlie Bell, died less than a year later of cancer at the age of 44. In 1997, Coca-Cola Co. Chairman Roberto Goizueta, a smoker, died weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The CEOs of today are also more visible than their forebears and must be camera-ready at a moment’s notice, composed while courting investors and ready to respond in a company emergency. Excess weight can convey weakness or a “lack of control,” says Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant who has worked with senior executives at Fortune 500 firms.

“It’s the leadership image you project,” says Mark Donnison, 47, a senior executive director at Canadian Blood Services who has lost 25 pounds since starting an early-morning workout rotation of cardio, weights and yoga last summer. “Folks do see how you live.”

Companies seek leaders with physical endurance, the better to manage global businesses and solve complex problems, says Mr. Posner, who advised Dow Chemical Co. DOW +1.54% on training high-potential global leaders in 2010 and 2011. Those leaders were instructed to build in regular time for exercise to help them withstand the constant travel and the demands of an overseas role. The training even incorporated such classes as Zumba, Pilates, tai chi and yoga, says Dawn Baker, Dow’s global director of talent management.

Panera Bread Co. PNRA +1.79% founder and co-CEO Ron Shaich says he began working with a trainer about five years ago, in part to stay energized while running a growing company. Two to three times a week, he gets up for a 5:30 a.m. appointment with his trainer, and on Sundays he opts for a 90-minute run. The workouts have boosted his energy levels and helped him focus, he says.

In general, the executives in the Center for Creative Leadership study were healthier than the average American. They drank and smoked less and were more likely to exercise regularly. About half were considered overweight or obese, defined as having a BMI of more than 25. By contrast, more than 60% of Americans fit this description, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index last year.

The sample’s leaner executives, defined as having a BMI under 25, were viewed more favorably by peers, averaging 3.92 for task performance on a five-point scale; heavier leaders averaged 3.85. Similarly, members of the leaner group rated higher on interpersonal skills.

The study controlled for factors such as age, race, gender, job level and personality traits. Results were similar across industries, says Eden King, one of the study’s researchers and an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University.

To be sure, the perception of competence isn’t the same as measurable leadership success. Executives who were part of the study say it’s difficult to say how much of the perceived bias stems from their physical weight and how much from their own projected insecurity.

Weight Watchers International Inc. WTW -2.71% CEO David Kirchhoff, 46, recalls feeling painfully self-conscious when his weight was at its peak a decade ago, around the time he first took up the post. At six-foot-two and 245 pounds, he tried to hide his girth with oversize sweaters and pleated pants.

“I sucked in my gut a lot,” says Mr. Kirchhoff, who has since lost 40 pounds. Now, he says, “I probably carry myself with more confidence and authority.

Write to Leslie Kwoh at leslie.kwoh@wsj.com

wsj

 Keep Appearance Blunders from Ruining Your Chances

By Joann S. Lubin

Two women who are over 50 years old recently vied to be a senior vice president of a health-care company. One contender’s powdered face, bouffant hairdo and expensive dress made her appear matronly. Her rival wore light makeup and a tailored pantsuit, conveying youthful enthusiasm.

Guess who got picked: The woman dressed “like she was 40,” recalls executive recruiter Patricia Cook. Appearance counts. How you look when you show up for a job interview can hurt — or enhance — your prospects. This hidden source of hiring bias affects older people the most. Attire, hairstyle, shoes and posture tell an employer whether “you’re on your way up,” says Ms. Cook, the owner of a Bronxville, N.Y., search boutique. “It has nothing to do with chronological age.”

To uncover job hunters’ worst appearance blunders, I canvassed recruiters, career coaches, business owners and image consultants. They cited many ways that your appearance can sabotage you even before your first handshake with a hiring manager. Among them, out-of-date styles. Your favorite “dress for success” suit fails to impress because you’ve worn it since the last century.

RitaSue Siegel, founder of RitaSue Siegel Resources, a New York firm that recruits senior design managers, sometimes asks an unfashionably dressed candidate, “When did you buy that suit?” If the answer is more than two years ago, she recommends donning “something a little fresher.”<

Your spectacles may hark back to an earlier era, too. “Huge glasses frames represent a style that’s out of date,” drawing undue attention to someone past 40, says Fred Whelan, a partner at recruiters Whelan Stone in San Francisco. Slovenly appearance. Dirty fingernails, stained armpits, frayed cuffs, messy hair, unkempt beards and scuffed shoes broadcast carelessness and poor judgment.

“Sometimes, we get someone in front of us who doesn’t dress the part,” appearing disheveled on multiple fronts, says Anne Lim O’Brien, leader of the consumer-products global practice for recruiters Heidrick & Struggles International. “They don’t go any further.”

A few years ago, an overweight man sought a marketing position at CEO Perspective Group, a New York executive-advisory firm. He turned up wearing a shirt so snug that he couldn’t close his middle button. “It was a very brief interview,” remembers Dee Soder, the firm’s managing partner, adding: “The things that shouldn’t count often do.” A too-casual look. A Stanford University student slipped on backless sandals when she interviewed last spring for a summer job as a hospital-laboratory research assistant. Her would-be supervisor told a reference that she feared the applicant wouldn’t take her work seriously enough, citing her informal “flip-flops.”

“I didn’t know they weren’t appropriate,” the student admits. Because the reference touted her professionalism, she got the job. She wore plain black heels to the lab every day. Last year, Gary Goldstein, president of financial-services recruiter Whitney Group, was flabbergasted when an investment banker showed up sporting a Mickey Mouse tie. Mr. Goldstein urged the man to switch ties for job interviews, then decided against recommending him to the firm’s clients. Don’t despair. A critical self-assessment can correct or prevent such gaffes. Scrutinize yourself in front of a mirror. “Put on a crisp white shirt and smile,” urges Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “If your teeth are yellowed, have your teeth whitened.”

About 35% of Ms. Castaneda’scustomers ask her to revamp their hair, makeup, wardrobe and accessories because they’re keen to change employers. But the consultant doesn’t come cheap. A 34-year-old program director at a Hartford, Conn., insurer paid Ms. Castaneda $1,200 for an image makeover just before she began job hunting this spring. “You have more confidence when you think you look good,” the insurance manager explains. Among other things, the consultant critiqued her clothes as too baggy and helped her find well-fitted suits that make her seem taller. The young woman, dressed in her new outfits, went on three interviews — and landed three offers. She will soon become senior director of business development for an information-technology concern.

There are less expensive ways to spiff up your appearance. Enlist help from a major retailer’s personal shopper, a stylish colleague or an acquaintance who already works for a targeted employer.

You should also reach out to recruiters. Many are eager to advise you about how to package yourself and the proper interview attire for different corporate clients. The executive rejected by the health-care concern never quizzed Ms. Cook about how to dress for her interview there. If she had, the recruiter would have suggested wearing something casual to fit in with the company’s fairly informal culture. Ms. Cook believes the woman’s lack of curiosity about suitable attire made it easier for company officials “to pick someone who looked like them.”

wsj

Dressing for Success:
Shopping for Career Clothes & Making Your Wardrobe Work

By Jennifer Saranow

When Ericka Goodman started last year as a research analyst for a trendy New York magazine, she didn’t just get a new job. She also got a new look. The 24-year-old remembers her first day at the magazine. “Everyone was dressed in party clothes.” Or at least party clothes compared with the business slacks and button-down blouse Ericka arrived in, an outfit characteristic of the work environment of her former employer, a business magazine. By contrast, the look at the new office had an emphasis on dressing uniquely and stylishly — business casual but with designer duds and vintage pieces mixed in.

Within a month, Ericka says she blossomed from the “whole Banana Republic thing.” She nabbed Prada and Gucci shoes during a trip to Italy in March and picked up versatile pieces at vintage and discount stores in New York. “You kind of have to go with the [office] norm,” Ericka says. Still, the transformation hasn’t been cheap. Ericka estimates she spends about $200 a month on work clothes. That’s on top of the two new suits and other wardrobe staples she bought to fit in at her first job.

“When you are starting out, you need to show that you are a team player on some level,” says Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “You need to have your work and your ability stand out more than your clothing.”

Another common challenge of trying to blend in at work on a budget: figuring out how to make work clothes transition into after-work outfits. Ericka, for example, used to spend all of her clothing funds in college on going-out pieces like halter tops and sparkly clothing. “You have to buy something that you can wear in the office and out to a social event — something adaptable,” says Ericka. To be sure, there’s a fine line between work and party clothes, and experts say a common mistake twentysomethings make is to cross it. Corsets under blazers and micro-mini skirts are a no-no, says image consultant Ms. Castaneda. Some twentysomethings find it important not just to fit in clothes wise with the general office look, but to dress like higher-ups. Natalie Tutterow, a 29-year-old second-year business-school student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., says she’s always tried to dress like her bosses, often meaning suits with a few younger touches like trendy colored shirts underneath. At her first job, Natalie says her boss commented on how nice she dressed and gave her some advice that she’s lived by since. “I was told a long time ago that you shouldn’t dress as your peers dress. You should dress according to the job you want,” says Natalie.

Of course, it’s easy for Natalie to dress up considering she worked at a mall during high school and college. She got a 40% discount on career clothes.

wsj

 

Want to Be CEO? What’s Your BMI?

By Leslie Kwoh

MK-CA220_FITEXE_G_20130115165602Being fit matters.

New research suggests that a few extra pounds or a slightly larger waistline affects an executive’s perceived leadership ability as well as stamina on the job.

While marathon training and predawn workouts aren’t explicitly part of a senior manager’s job description, leadership experts and executive recruiters say that staying trim is now virtually required for anyone on track for the corner office.

“Because the demands of leadership can be quite strenuous, the physical aspects are just as important as everything else,” says Sharon McDowell-Larsen, an exercise physiologist who runs an executive-fitness program for the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership.

Executives with larger waistlines and higher body-mass-index readings tend to be perceived as less effective in the workplace, both in performance and interpersonal relationships, according to data compiled by CCL. BMI, a common measure of body fat, is based on height and weight.

While weight remains a taboo conversation topic in the workplace, it’s hard to overlook. A heavy executive is judged to be less capable because of assumptions about how weight affects health and stamina, says Barry Posner, a leadership professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. He says he can’t name a single overweight Fortune 500 CEO. “We have stereotypes about fat,” he adds, “so when we see a senior executive who’s overweight, our initial reaction isn’t positive.”

CCL staff detected the correlation after collecting hundreds of peer-performance reviews and health-screening results from the CEOs and other senior-level managers who participate in its weeklong leadership workshops in Colorado Springs. A pair of university researchers, using data from 757 executives measured between 2006 and 2010, found that weight may indeed influence perceptions of leaders among subordinates, peers and superiors.

Tim McNair, a general manager at Nazareth, Pa.-based guitar maker C.F. Martin & Co., says he was inspired to make some changes after spotting his “gut” on camera during a recent public-speaking exercise while attending the CCL workshop.

He wondered whether his colleagues had the same reaction to his appearance, he says, adding: “Would they think, ‘If he can’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar, how can he do his job?'”

So the 44-year-old, who says his peers’ evaluations were somewhat harsh, recently rejoined the local gym, where he heads after work at least three days a week to run on the treadmill, cycle or stretch. He has also given up double cheeseburgers, steak, ice cream, Coca-Cola and Tastykakes, opting for a healthier diet of grains and vegetables. In four months, he has shed about 25 pounds.

The fitness imperative for executives is relatively new, says Ana Dutra, the CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. Time was, a company chief spent every waking minute at work, sacrificing exercise, vacation and kids’ soccer games in the service of the firm. Employees were expected to admire and emulate this devotion. Now, executives are expected to take time off to “revitalize themselves,” Ms. Dutra says.

She pegs the shift to the sudden deaths of high-profile CEOs, including McDonald’s Corp. MCD +0.62% chief Jim Cantalupo, who died of a heart attack in 2004, 16 months after taking the post. His successor, Charlie Bell, died less than a year later of cancer at the age of 44. In 1997, Coca-Cola Co. Chairman Roberto Goizueta, a smoker, died weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The CEOs of today are also more visible than their forebears and must be camera-ready at a moment’s notice, composed while courting investors and ready to respond in a company emergency. Excess weight can convey weakness or a “lack of control,” says Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant who has worked with senior executives at Fortune 500 firms.

“It’s the leadership image you project,” says Mark Donnison, 47, a senior executive director at Canadian Blood Services who has lost 25 pounds since starting an early-morning workout rotation of cardio, weights and yoga last summer. “Folks do see how you live.”

Companies seek leaders with physical endurance, the better to manage global businesses and solve complex problems, says Mr. Posner, who advised Dow Chemical Co. DOW +1.54% on training high-potential global leaders in 2010 and 2011. Those leaders were instructed to build in regular time for exercise to help them withstand the constant travel and the demands of an overseas role. The training even incorporated such classes as Zumba, Pilates, tai chi and yoga, says Dawn Baker, Dow’s global director of talent management.

Panera Bread Co. PNRA +1.79% founder and co-CEO Ron Shaich says he began working with a trainer about five years ago, in part to stay energized while running a growing company. Two to three times a week, he gets up for a 5:30 a.m. appointment with his trainer, and on Sundays he opts for a 90-minute run. The workouts have boosted his energy levels and helped him focus, he says.

In general, the executives in the Center for Creative Leadership study were healthier than the average American. They drank and smoked less and were more likely to exercise regularly. About half were considered overweight or obese, defined as having a BMI of more than 25. By contrast, more than 60% of Americans fit this description, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index last year.

The sample’s leaner executives, defined as having a BMI under 25, were viewed more favorably by peers, averaging 3.92 for task performance on a five-point scale; heavier leaders averaged 3.85. Similarly, members of the leaner group rated higher on interpersonal skills.

The study controlled for factors such as age, race, gender, job level and personality traits. Results were similar across industries, says Eden King, one of the study’s researchers and an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University.

To be sure, the perception of competence isn’t the same as measurable leadership success. Executives who were part of the study say it’s difficult to say how much of the perceived bias stems from their physical weight and how much from their own projected insecurity.

Weight Watchers International Inc. WTW -2.71% CEO David Kirchhoff, 46, recalls feeling painfully self-conscious when his weight was at its peak a decade ago, around the time he first took up the post. At six-foot-two and 245 pounds, he tried to hide his girth with oversize sweaters and pleated pants.

“I sucked in my gut a lot,” says Mr. Kirchhoff, who has since lost 40 pounds. Now, he says, “I probably carry myself with more confidence and authority.

Write to Leslie Kwoh at leslie.kwoh@wsj.com

wsj

 

Mayor, 70, Nods Little to Age 

By Michael Howard Saul

Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City’s 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.

Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine’s Day, but the mayor typically hasn’t allowed his senior status to get him down. The billionaire likes to say tomorrow will always be his best day, and maybe it doesn’t hurt that 25-year-old Lady Gaga kissed him smack on the lips this New Year’s Eve.

Bloomberg Through the Years

Bloomberg Through the Years

In honor of Mr. Bloomberg’s 70th birthday, The Wall Street Journal asked two image consultants to look at photographs of the mayor and evaluate whether time and the rigors of City Hall have accelerated his aging, as some believe the White House dramatically speeds up the aging of presidents.

Their conclusion: The mayor looks good.
“He hasn’t really changed that much,” said Laura Rubeli, a Las Vegas-based image consultant who is originally from New York.

“For a 70-year-old man, I think he looks fantastic. I really do. In my opinion, he looks fabulous.”

Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, agreed: “It doesn’t look like he’s aged at all,” she said.

Ms. Sanders said it is remarkable how little the mayor appears to have changed in the past decade, given how much older President Barack Obama looks after three years in office.

“Obama has aged. I don’t know if that’s stress related. Every time I see him, I’m thinking ‘My! Has he been in office that long?'” Ms. Sanders said.

Unlike Mr. Obama, who is 50, Mr. Bloomberg already sported a head of gray hair when he took office. But the image consultants said the mayor had retained something harder to pinpoint.
“Michael Bloomberg looks very cool, sort of unscathed, unchanged,” Ms. Sanders said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Then and Now

By the end of his third term, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the oldest serving mayor since the city was consolidated in 1898. As he turns 70, compare photos of the mayor taken nearly a decade apart.

Mr. Bloomberg has been watching his diet over the years, especially during his first term when photographs showed a growing mayoral paunch. The divorced father of two daughters has been with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, 57, the former state banking commissioner, since before he was elected.

During an appearance Monday at a fashion-related event in Midtown Manhattan, he received high praise from designer Diane von Furstenberg. When a reporter asked if she had any fashion advice for the mayor, she said the mayor is “so hot—he doesn’t need any.”

Over the years, Mr. Bloomberg has maintained a normal public schedule on his birthday, going to events and making announcements. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to swear in judges in Manhattan and appear at a charity fund-raiser. Last year, he cut a birthday cake presented at a Brooklyn Brewery event, but he has otherwise celebrated privately.

Mr. Bloomberg has remained active and makes few noticeable accommodations for his age. Several years ago, he experimented with a hearing aide but he hasn’t appeared to be wearing one recently. A City Hall spokesman didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.

When the mayor turned 65, he became eligible for a reduced-fare MetroCard, not that the billionaire mayor needs any discounts. And more than once, he’s proudly displayed his AARP membership card.

Records of New York City mayors since 1898 reveal Mr. Bloomberg is neck and neck with former Mayor Abraham Beame to be the city’s oldest serving mayor. Mr. Beame was 71 when his term ended in December 1977. If Mr. Bloomberg finishes out his term next year, he, too, will be 71, but since his birthday is in February and Mr. Beame’s was in March, Mr. Bloomberg would be the city’s oldest serving mayor in the final weeks of his third term.

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who was 65 when he left office and is 87 now, said the mayor is a spring chicken compared with him. “At age 70 in today’s society, he would be perceived as middle-aged—and he should make the most of it,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg has said he plans to focus his attention on his philanthropic efforts after he leaves City Hall.

Bobbie Sackman, an advocate for senior citizens, described the mayor’s record on the elderly as “mixed,” noting severe budget cuts.

But she said she hopes the birthday reminds him that seniors need the city’s help.

“His wealth will obviously make his aging process different than the average person’s,” Ms. Sackman said.

wsj

 Keep Appearance Blunders from Ruining Your Chances

By Joann S. Lubin

Two women who are over 50 years old recently vied to be a senior vice president of a health-care company. One contender’s powdered face, bouffant hairdo and expensive dress made her appear matronly. Her rival wore light makeup and a tailored pantsuit, conveying youthful enthusiasm.

Guess who got picked: The woman dressed “like she was 40,” recalls executive recruiter Patricia Cook. Appearance counts. How you look when you show up for a job interview can hurt — or enhance — your prospects. This hidden source of hiring bias affects older people the most. Attire, hairstyle, shoes and posture tell an employer whether “you’re on your way up,” says Ms. Cook, the owner of a Bronxville, N.Y., search boutique. “It has nothing to do with chronological age.”

To uncover job hunters’ worst appearance blunders, I canvassed recruiters, career coaches, business owners and image consultants. They cited many ways that your appearance can sabotage you even before your first handshake with a hiring manager. Among them, out-of-date styles. Your favorite “dress for success” suit fails to impress because you’ve worn it since the last century.

RitaSue Siegel, founder of RitaSue Siegel Resources, a New York firm that recruits senior design managers, sometimes asks an unfashionably dressed candidate, “When did you buy that suit?” If the answer is more than two years ago, she recommends donning “something a little fresher.”<

Your spectacles may hark back to an earlier era, too. “Huge glasses frames represent a style that’s out of date,” drawing undue attention to someone past 40, says Fred Whelan, a partner at recruiters Whelan Stone in San Francisco. Slovenly appearance. Dirty fingernails, stained armpits, frayed cuffs, messy hair, unkempt beards and scuffed shoes broadcast carelessness and poor judgment.

“Sometimes, we get someone in front of us who doesn’t dress the part,” appearing disheveled on multiple fronts, says Anne Lim O’Brien, leader of the consumer-products global practice for recruiters Heidrick & Struggles International. “They don’t go any further.”

A few years ago, an overweight man sought a marketing position at CEO Perspective Group, a New York executive-advisory firm. He turned up wearing a shirt so snug that he couldn’t close his middle button. “It was a very brief interview,” remembers Dee Soder, the firm’s managing partner, adding: “The things that shouldn’t count often do.” A too-casual look. A Stanford University student slipped on backless sandals when she interviewed last spring for a summer job as a hospital-laboratory research assistant. Her would-be supervisor told a reference that she feared the applicant wouldn’t take her work seriously enough, citing her informal “flip-flops.”

“I didn’t know they weren’t appropriate,” the student admits. Because the reference touted her professionalism, she got the job. She wore plain black heels to the lab every day. Last year, Gary Goldstein, president of financial-services recruiter Whitney Group, was flabbergasted when an investment banker showed up sporting a Mickey Mouse tie. Mr. Goldstein urged the man to switch ties for job interviews, then decided against recommending him to the firm’s clients. Don’t despair. A critical self-assessment can correct or prevent such gaffes. Scrutinize yourself in front of a mirror. “Put on a crisp white shirt and smile,” urges Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “If your teeth are yellowed, have your teeth whitened.”

About 35% of Ms. Castaneda’scustomers ask her to revamp their hair, makeup, wardrobe and accessories because they’re keen to change employers. But the consultant doesn’t come cheap. A 34-year-old program director at a Hartford, Conn., insurer paid Ms. Castaneda $1,200 for an image makeover just before she began job hunting this spring. “You have more confidence when you think you look good,” the insurance manager explains. Among other things, the consultant critiqued her clothes as too baggy and helped her find well-fitted suits that make her seem taller. The young woman, dressed in her new outfits, went on three interviews — and landed three offers. She will soon become senior director of business development for an information-technology concern.

There are less expensive ways to spiff up your appearance. Enlist help from a major retailer’s personal shopper, a stylish colleague or an acquaintance who already works for a targeted employer.

You should also reach out to recruiters. Many are eager to advise you about how to package yourself and the proper interview attire for different corporate clients. The executive rejected by the health-care concern never quizzed Ms. Cook about how to dress for her interview there. If she had, the recruiter would have suggested wearing something casual to fit in with the company’s fairly informal culture. Ms. Cook believes the woman’s lack of curiosity about suitable attire made it easier for company officials “to pick someone who looked like them.”

wsj

Dressing for Success:
Shopping for Career Clothes & Making Your Wardrobe Work

By Jennifer Saranow

When Ericka Goodman started last year as a research analyst for a trendy New York magazine, she didn’t just get a new job. She also got a new look. The 24-year-old remembers her first day at the magazine. “Everyone was dressed in party clothes.” Or at least party clothes compared with the business slacks and button-down blouse Ericka arrived in, an outfit characteristic of the work environment of her former employer, a business magazine. By contrast, the look at the new office had an emphasis on dressing uniquely and stylishly — business casual but with designer duds and vintage pieces mixed in.

Within a month, Ericka says she blossomed from the “whole Banana Republic thing.” She nabbed Prada and Gucci shoes during a trip to Italy in March and picked up versatile pieces at vintage and discount stores in New York. “You kind of have to go with the [office] norm,” Ericka says. Still, the transformation hasn’t been cheap. Ericka estimates she spends about $200 a month on work clothes. That’s on top of the two new suits and other wardrobe staples she bought to fit in at her first job.

“When you are starting out, you need to show that you are a team player on some level,” says Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “You need to have your work and your ability stand out more than your clothing.”

Another common challenge of trying to blend in at work on a budget: figuring out how to make work clothes transition into after-work outfits. Ericka, for example, used to spend all of her clothing funds in college on going-out pieces like halter tops and sparkly clothing. “You have to buy something that you can wear in the office and out to a social event — something adaptable,” says Ericka. To be sure, there’s a fine line between work and party clothes, and experts say a common mistake twentysomethings make is to cross it. Corsets under blazers and micro-mini skirts are a no-no, says image consultant Ms. Castaneda. Some twentysomethings find it important not just to fit in clothes wise with the general office look, but to dress like higher-ups. Natalie Tutterow, a 29-year-old second-year business-school student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., says she’s always tried to dress like her bosses, often meaning suits with a few younger touches like trendy colored shirts underneath. At her first job, Natalie says her boss commented on how nice she dressed and gave her some advice that she’s lived by since. “I was told a long time ago that you shouldn’t dress as your peers dress. You should dress according to the job you want,” says Natalie.

Of course, it’s easy for Natalie to dress up considering she worked at a mall during high school and college. She got a 40% discount on career clothes.

wsj

 

Want to Be CEO? What’s Your BMI?

By Leslie Kwoh

MK-CA220_FITEXE_G_20130115165602Being fit matters.

New research suggests that a few extra pounds or a slightly larger waistline affects an executive’s perceived leadership ability as well as stamina on the job.

While marathon training and predawn workouts aren’t explicitly part of a senior manager’s job description, leadership experts and executive recruiters say that staying trim is now virtually required for anyone on track for the corner office.

“Because the demands of leadership can be quite strenuous, the physical aspects are just as important as everything else,” says Sharon McDowell-Larsen, an exercise physiologist who runs an executive-fitness program for the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership.

Executives with larger waistlines and higher body-mass-index readings tend to be perceived as less effective in the workplace, both in performance and interpersonal relationships, according to data compiled by CCL. BMI, a common measure of body fat, is based on height and weight.

While weight remains a taboo conversation topic in the workplace, it’s hard to overlook. A heavy executive is judged to be less capable because of assumptions about how weight affects health and stamina, says Barry Posner, a leadership professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. He says he can’t name a single overweight Fortune 500 CEO. “We have stereotypes about fat,” he adds, “so when we see a senior executive who’s overweight, our initial reaction isn’t positive.”

CCL staff detected the correlation after collecting hundreds of peer-performance reviews and health-screening results from the CEOs and other senior-level managers who participate in its weeklong leadership workshops in Colorado Springs. A pair of university researchers, using data from 757 executives measured between 2006 and 2010, found that weight may indeed influence perceptions of leaders among subordinates, peers and superiors.

Tim McNair, a general manager at Nazareth, Pa.-based guitar maker C.F. Martin & Co., says he was inspired to make some changes after spotting his “gut” on camera during a recent public-speaking exercise while attending the CCL workshop.

He wondered whether his colleagues had the same reaction to his appearance, he says, adding: “Would they think, ‘If he can’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar, how can he do his job?'”

So the 44-year-old, who says his peers’ evaluations were somewhat harsh, recently rejoined the local gym, where he heads after work at least three days a week to run on the treadmill, cycle or stretch. He has also given up double cheeseburgers, steak, ice cream, Coca-Cola and Tastykakes, opting for a healthier diet of grains and vegetables. In four months, he has shed about 25 pounds.

The fitness imperative for executives is relatively new, says Ana Dutra, the CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. Time was, a company chief spent every waking minute at work, sacrificing exercise, vacation and kids’ soccer games in the service of the firm. Employees were expected to admire and emulate this devotion. Now, executives are expected to take time off to “revitalize themselves,” Ms. Dutra says.

She pegs the shift to the sudden deaths of high-profile CEOs, including McDonald’s Corp. MCD +0.62% chief Jim Cantalupo, who died of a heart attack in 2004, 16 months after taking the post. His successor, Charlie Bell, died less than a year later of cancer at the age of 44. In 1997, Coca-Cola Co. Chairman Roberto Goizueta, a smoker, died weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The CEOs of today are also more visible than their forebears and must be camera-ready at a moment’s notice, composed while courting investors and ready to respond in a company emergency. Excess weight can convey weakness or a “lack of control,” says Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant who has worked with senior executives at Fortune 500 firms.

“It’s the leadership image you project,” says Mark Donnison, 47, a senior executive director at Canadian Blood Services who has lost 25 pounds since starting an early-morning workout rotation of cardio, weights and yoga last summer. “Folks do see how you live.”

Companies seek leaders with physical endurance, the better to manage global businesses and solve complex problems, says Mr. Posner, who advised Dow Chemical Co. DOW +1.54% on training high-potential global leaders in 2010 and 2011. Those leaders were instructed to build in regular time for exercise to help them withstand the constant travel and the demands of an overseas role. The training even incorporated such classes as Zumba, Pilates, tai chi and yoga, says Dawn Baker, Dow’s global director of talent management.

Panera Bread Co. PNRA +1.79% founder and co-CEO Ron Shaich says he began working with a trainer about five years ago, in part to stay energized while running a growing company. Two to three times a week, he gets up for a 5:30 a.m. appointment with his trainer, and on Sundays he opts for a 90-minute run. The workouts have boosted his energy levels and helped him focus, he says.

In general, the executives in the Center for Creative Leadership study were healthier than the average American. They drank and smoked less and were more likely to exercise regularly. About half were considered overweight or obese, defined as having a BMI of more than 25. By contrast, more than 60% of Americans fit this description, according to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index last year.

The sample’s leaner executives, defined as having a BMI under 25, were viewed more favorably by peers, averaging 3.92 for task performance on a five-point scale; heavier leaders averaged 3.85. Similarly, members of the leaner group rated higher on interpersonal skills.

The study controlled for factors such as age, race, gender, job level and personality traits. Results were similar across industries, says Eden King, one of the study’s researchers and an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University.

To be sure, the perception of competence isn’t the same as measurable leadership success. Executives who were part of the study say it’s difficult to say how much of the perceived bias stems from their physical weight and how much from their own projected insecurity.

Weight Watchers International Inc. WTW -2.71% CEO David Kirchhoff, 46, recalls feeling painfully self-conscious when his weight was at its peak a decade ago, around the time he first took up the post. At six-foot-two and 245 pounds, he tried to hide his girth with oversize sweaters and pleated pants.

“I sucked in my gut a lot,” says Mr. Kirchhoff, who has since lost 40 pounds. Now, he says, “I probably carry myself with more confidence and authority.

Write to Leslie Kwoh at leslie.kwoh@wsj.com

wsj

 

Mayor, 70, Nods Little to Age 

By Michael Howard Saul

Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City’s 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.

Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine’s Day, but the mayor typically hasn’t allowed his senior status to get him down. The billionaire likes to say tomorrow will always be his best day, and maybe it doesn’t hurt that 25-year-old Lady Gaga kissed him smack on the lips this New Year’s Eve.

Bloomberg Through the Years

Bloomberg Through the Years

In honor of Mr. Bloomberg’s 70th birthday, The Wall Street Journal asked two image consultants to look at photographs of the mayor and evaluate whether time and the rigors of City Hall have accelerated his aging, as some believe the White House dramatically speeds up the aging of presidents.

Their conclusion: The mayor looks good.
“He hasn’t really changed that much,” said Laura Rubeli, a Las Vegas-based image consultant who is originally from New York.

“For a 70-year-old man, I think he looks fantastic. I really do. In my opinion, he looks fabulous.”

Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, agreed: “It doesn’t look like he’s aged at all,” she said.

Ms. Sanders said it is remarkable how little the mayor appears to have changed in the past decade, given how much older President Barack Obama looks after three years in office.

“Obama has aged. I don’t know if that’s stress related. Every time I see him, I’m thinking ‘My! Has he been in office that long?'” Ms. Sanders said.

Unlike Mr. Obama, who is 50, Mr. Bloomberg already sported a head of gray hair when he took office. But the image consultants said the mayor had retained something harder to pinpoint.
“Michael Bloomberg looks very cool, sort of unscathed, unchanged,” Ms. Sanders said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Then and Now

By the end of his third term, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the oldest serving mayor since the city was consolidated in 1898. As he turns 70, compare photos of the mayor taken nearly a decade apart.

Mr. Bloomberg has been watching his diet over the years, especially during his first term when photographs showed a growing mayoral paunch. The divorced father of two daughters has been with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, 57, the former state banking commissioner, since before he was elected.

During an appearance Monday at a fashion-related event in Midtown Manhattan, he received high praise from designer Diane von Furstenberg. When a reporter asked if she had any fashion advice for the mayor, she said the mayor is “so hot—he doesn’t need any.”

Over the years, Mr. Bloomberg has maintained a normal public schedule on his birthday, going to events and making announcements. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to swear in judges in Manhattan and appear at a charity fund-raiser. Last year, he cut a birthday cake presented at a Brooklyn Brewery event, but he has otherwise celebrated privately.

Mr. Bloomberg has remained active and makes few noticeable accommodations for his age. Several years ago, he experimented with a hearing aide but he hasn’t appeared to be wearing one recently. A City Hall spokesman didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.

When the mayor turned 65, he became eligible for a reduced-fare MetroCard, not that the billionaire mayor needs any discounts. And more than once, he’s proudly displayed his AARP membership card.

Records of New York City mayors since 1898 reveal Mr. Bloomberg is neck and neck with former Mayor Abraham Beame to be the city’s oldest serving mayor. Mr. Beame was 71 when his term ended in December 1977. If Mr. Bloomberg finishes out his term next year, he, too, will be 71, but since his birthday is in February and Mr. Beame’s was in March, Mr. Bloomberg would be the city’s oldest serving mayor in the final weeks of his third term.

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who was 65 when he left office and is 87 now, said the mayor is a spring chicken compared with him. “At age 70 in today’s society, he would be perceived as middle-aged—and he should make the most of it,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg has said he plans to focus his attention on his philanthropic efforts after he leaves City Hall.

Bobbie Sackman, an advocate for senior citizens, described the mayor’s record on the elderly as “mixed,” noting severe budget cuts.

But she said she hopes the birthday reminds him that seniors need the city’s help.

“His wealth will obviously make his aging process different than the average person’s,” Ms. Sackman said.

wsj

 Keep Appearance Blunders from Ruining Your Chances

By Joann S. Lubin

Two women who are over 50 years old recently vied to be a senior vice president of a health-care company. One contender’s powdered face, bouffant hairdo and expensive dress made her appear matronly. Her rival wore light makeup and a tailored pantsuit, conveying youthful enthusiasm.

Guess who got picked: The woman dressed “like she was 40,” recalls executive recruiter Patricia Cook. Appearance counts. How you look when you show up for a job interview can hurt — or enhance — your prospects. This hidden source of hiring bias affects older people the most. Attire, hairstyle, shoes and posture tell an employer whether “you’re on your way up,” says Ms. Cook, the owner of a Bronxville, N.Y., search boutique. “It has nothing to do with chronological age.”

To uncover job hunters’ worst appearance blunders, I canvassed recruiters, career coaches, business owners and image consultants. They cited many ways that your appearance can sabotage you even before your first handshake with a hiring manager. Among them, out-of-date styles. Your favorite “dress for success” suit fails to impress because you’ve worn it since the last century.

RitaSue Siegel, founder of RitaSue Siegel Resources, a New York firm that recruits senior design managers, sometimes asks an unfashionably dressed candidate, “When did you buy that suit?” If the answer is more than two years ago, she recommends donning “something a little fresher.”<

Your spectacles may hark back to an earlier era, too. “Huge glasses frames represent a style that’s out of date,” drawing undue attention to someone past 40, says Fred Whelan, a partner at recruiters Whelan Stone in San Francisco. Slovenly appearance. Dirty fingernails, stained armpits, frayed cuffs, messy hair, unkempt beards and scuffed shoes broadcast carelessness and poor judgment.

“Sometimes, we get someone in front of us who doesn’t dress the part,” appearing disheveled on multiple fronts, says Anne Lim O’Brien, leader of the consumer-products global practice for recruiters Heidrick & Struggles International. “They don’t go any further.”

A few years ago, an overweight man sought a marketing position at CEO Perspective Group, a New York executive-advisory firm. He turned up wearing a shirt so snug that he couldn’t close his middle button. “It was a very brief interview,” remembers Dee Soder, the firm’s managing partner, adding: “The things that shouldn’t count often do.” A too-casual look. A Stanford University student slipped on backless sandals when she interviewed last spring for a summer job as a hospital-laboratory research assistant. Her would-be supervisor told a reference that she feared the applicant wouldn’t take her work seriously enough, citing her informal “flip-flops.”

“I didn’t know they weren’t appropriate,” the student admits. Because the reference touted her professionalism, she got the job. She wore plain black heels to the lab every day. Last year, Gary Goldstein, president of financial-services recruiter Whitney Group, was flabbergasted when an investment banker showed up sporting a Mickey Mouse tie. Mr. Goldstein urged the man to switch ties for job interviews, then decided against recommending him to the firm’s clients. Don’t despair. A critical self-assessment can correct or prevent such gaffes. Scrutinize yourself in front of a mirror. “Put on a crisp white shirt and smile,” urges Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “If your teeth are yellowed, have your teeth whitened.”

About 35% of Ms. Castaneda’scustomers ask her to revamp their hair, makeup, wardrobe and accessories because they’re keen to change employers. But the consultant doesn’t come cheap. A 34-year-old program director at a Hartford, Conn., insurer paid Ms. Castaneda $1,200 for an image makeover just before she began job hunting this spring. “You have more confidence when you think you look good,” the insurance manager explains. Among other things, the consultant critiqued her clothes as too baggy and helped her find well-fitted suits that make her seem taller. The young woman, dressed in her new outfits, went on three interviews — and landed three offers. She will soon become senior director of business development for an information-technology concern.

There are less expensive ways to spiff up your appearance. Enlist help from a major retailer’s personal shopper, a stylish colleague or an acquaintance who already works for a targeted employer.

You should also reach out to recruiters. Many are eager to advise you about how to package yourself and the proper interview attire for different corporate clients. The executive rejected by the health-care concern never quizzed Ms. Cook about how to dress for her interview there. If she had, the recruiter would have suggested wearing something casual to fit in with the company’s fairly informal culture. Ms. Cook believes the woman’s lack of curiosity about suitable attire made it easier for company officials “to pick someone who looked like them.”

wsj

Dressing for Success:
Shopping for Career Clothes & Making Your Wardrobe Work

By Jennifer Saranow

When Ericka Goodman started last year as a research analyst for a trendy New York magazine, she didn’t just get a new job. She also got a new look. The 24-year-old remembers her first day at the magazine. “Everyone was dressed in party clothes.” Or at least party clothes compared with the business slacks and button-down blouse Ericka arrived in, an outfit characteristic of the work environment of her former employer, a business magazine. By contrast, the look at the new office had an emphasis on dressing uniquely and stylishly — business casual but with designer duds and vintage pieces mixed in.

Within a month, Ericka says she blossomed from the “whole Banana Republic thing.” She nabbed Prada and Gucci shoes during a trip to Italy in March and picked up versatile pieces at vintage and discount stores in New York. “You kind of have to go with the [office] norm,” Ericka says. Still, the transformation hasn’t been cheap. Ericka estimates she spends about $200 a month on work clothes. That’s on top of the two new suits and other wardrobe staples she bought to fit in at her first job.

“When you are starting out, you need to show that you are a team player on some level,” says Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. “You need to have your work and your ability stand out more than your clothing.”

Another common challenge of trying to blend in at work on a budget: figuring out how to make work clothes transition into after-work outfits. Ericka, for example, used to spend all of her clothing funds in college on going-out pieces like halter tops and sparkly clothing. “You have to buy something that you can wear in the office and out to a social event — something adaptable,” says Ericka. To be sure, there’s a fine line between work and party clothes, and experts say a common mistake twentysomethings make is to cross it. Corsets under blazers and micro-mini skirts are a no-no, says image consultant Ms. Castaneda. Some twentysomethings find it important not just to fit in clothes wise with the general office look, but to dress like higher-ups. Natalie Tutterow, a 29-year-old second-year business-school student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., says she’s always tried to dress like her bosses, often meaning suits with a few younger touches like trendy colored shirts underneath. At her first job, Natalie says her boss commented on how nice she dressed and gave her some advice that she’s lived by since. “I was told a long time ago that you shouldn’t dress as your peers dress. You should dress according to the job you want,” says Natalie.

Of course, it’s easy for Natalie to dress up considering she worked at a mall during high school and college. She got a 40% discount on career clothes.

Mayor, 70, Nods Little to Age

Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City’s 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.

Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine’s Day, but the mayor typically hasn’t allowed his senior status to get him down. Read More..