Retirement Rebels: Malcolm McDonald

by | Apr 10, 2020

It’s that time of the month when we have our regular catch-up with a Retirement Rebel. These inspiring individuals are people I’ve met on my journey and they’ve all chosen not to follow the herd in later life.

I ask these rebels the same quick fire questions, and we’re getting some fascinating answers as the series progresses. Have a look back and read Bob Hall and John K Bleimaier’s interviews. They’ve found a life of purpose at retirement age: something that I can help you do too.

Professor Malcolm McDonaldThis month we welcome Emeritus Professor Dr Malcom McDonald, who has not only written 46 books, but spends much of his time working all over the world with the operating boards of the world’s biggest multinational companies, such as IBM, Xerox, and BP.

An inspiring man indeed: If you’re similarly inspiring, and you’d like to be part of this series yourself, email me at [email protected].

Do you consider yourself retired – and if not, why not?

No. I am doing exactly what I have done for the past 45 years – researching, lecturing and publishing.

How do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people – in other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?

Thoughts of playing average golf and the like fill me with boredom. I want to stay at the top of my profession not slip into obscurity. My motto is definitely NOT “The good thing about being mediocre is you are always at your best!!”.

Do you have a typical day? What does it look like?

At the age of 82, I start the day at 07.00 with a two mile run. I travel to one of the Business Schools, where I am a Professor, give lectures, return home then work on a scholarly paper or a chapter for one of my books.

What’s been your proudest moment since you turned 50?

I have received many lifetime achievement awards from the likes of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I have received so many, of which I am of course proud, but am beginning to wonder whether they are trying to tell me something and haven’t noticed I am still alive!

Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?

“Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted” William Bruce Cameron. ‘Informal sociology: a casual introduction to sociological thinking’ (1963 Random House New York).

This rhetorical technique is known as “chiasmus”, or “antimetabole”, and the quotation often wrongly attributed to Einstein.

What’s your favourite social media channel, and what was the last thing you posted on it?

Linkedin. A research report summary by me on the impact of technology on the role of the Chief Marketing Officer.

If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

Continue to learn as much as you can throughout your life.

When did you last belly-laugh, and what was it about?

It was when some numpty of a marketing manager recently referred to millennials as a segment. He needs to look for another job!

Do you have any regrets?

My only regret is that at 82 I know I cannot go on forever promulgating my knowledge (See answer below).

What are your aspirations for retirement – and above all, what do you wish to be remembered for?

I plan to capture as much of my learning as possible in modern media, so that my legacy will not die. I want to be remembered as one of the best Professors of Marketing in the world.

George Jerjian
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