Tuesday 19 June 2018

Trump 'doesn't have the right skills' to deal with US presidency, says Smurfit

Michael Smurfit said his ability to lead from the front had stood him in good stead. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Michael Smurfit said his ability to lead from the front had stood him in good stead. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Michael Smurfit has said that he does not believe Donald Trump's business experience equips him for the US presidency.

Smurfit (81), who said he has had "many a dinner" with Trump, said Trump "doesn't have the tools in my view to deal with it. He doesn't have the skills. He doesn't have the team. He's not a consensus builder".

Smurfit, who lived in Trump Tower for around 25 years, questioned whether business people had the right skills for politics. He said that, in his experience, business people had not tended to be good politicians, because the skills needed to run a business did not lend themselves to building a consensus.

Smurfit told a high-powered audience of Irish business leaders about his dealings with Trump at the opening of the new UCD Smurfit Executive Development Centre this week.

"I know Donald Trump quite well, because I lived in Trump Tower for quite a few years, for 25 years," Smurfit said. "I've had many a dinner with him over the decades, played a fair bit of golf with him. We have that in common, we're golfers.

"I think Donald Trump is equivalent to the two hurricanes that have hit America - nobody's seen anything like him before or since, nobody knows what he is going to do. I don't think he knows himself. I think he was more surprised than anybody when he became president."

Smurfit spoke as part of a panel discussion including former Unilever boss Niall Fitzgerald, who is chairman of the advisory board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business.

On leadership, Smurfit said: "Whatever ability I've had in my life, it was because I was prepared to lead from the front. And in leading from the front you're taking a big risk, because you're first into battle and you're going to be shot at.

"I don't think any leader of any description has never taken a risk."

 

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