HR Strange But True!
April 21, 2011

Say goodbye to those power lunches of 3-inch thick steaks; a new fad is sweeping the CEO world, according to Newsweek, and it doesn’t involve mega-bonuses, corporate jets, or entourages. The hottest CEOs are going vegan (or vegetarian, according to which rumors you listen to).

Touting that many of the top mentions on Vanity Fair’s list of the “100 Most Influential People” have given up meat, VegNews reports that many “power vegans” are star computer geeks, including Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Binatone’s Gulu Lalvani, and Twitter’s cofounders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. And CEOs Russell Simmons of Def Jam and Whole Foods’ John Mackay (surprise) are also on board.

And the powerful in politics are following suit. Former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Dennis Kucinich are the most visible pols who went vegan, but Newsweek reports the Congressional Cafeteria will soon be offering vegan options for solons and staffers.

One theory on the rise of this CEO health fad, says Newsweek, is that many CEO wives are into yoga, Pilates, and other healthful endeavors. Another theory is that CEOs are control freaks, and strictly controlling their diets is another manifestation. Upromise CEO Tom Anderson says this practice is really good for business because it keeps CEOs from “toppling over in McDonalds.”

Of course, there is the element of exclusivity, with only 1 percent of Americans saying they don’t eat any animal products. CEOs have no monetary constraints, so they can hire vegan chefs and buy pricey out-of-season fruits and veggies; something their employees probably can’t afford.

A recent convert is Las Vegas casino mogul and famed art collector Steve Wynn, who not only went vegan, but persuaded most of his management staff to do the same. He added vegan menus at his restaurants and has staffers inform any lunch companions of his dietary restrictions.

Wynn bought a copy of the book Eating, which endorses giving up all animal products as well as all oils, for each of his employees. “I’m providing … their insurance. If they’re sick, we’re picking up the tab,” Wynn told Newsweek. “If I can keep them healthier, I’m acting like a smart businessman.”



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