HOUSTON–Edwin Randle, the obsessive, hard-driving Drexel Chemicals CEO legendary for his 100-hour work weeks, stunned colleagues and competitors Monday when he announced that he is stepping down to spend more time with his possessions.
"I took a long, hard look at my Mercedes CL500 Coupe and realized it wasn't getting any newer," said Randle, a 51-year-old husband and father of three. "After spending most of my life putting my career before everything else, it suddenly dawned on me that I was missing out on what really matters: my luxury goods."
"Can you believe my yacht is already 12 years old?" Randle added. "I've barely even used it."
Leaning back in his $1,100 leather massage chair with seven adjustable heat settings, Randle said it was "high time" he put his priorities in order.
"In the end, what does all that money in the bank mean?" Randle asked. "Nothing, unless you make the time to spend it on the things you love."
For years, Randle set aside little time to enjoy his belongings. Most days, the only interaction he had with his pair of BMW R1100 motorcycles was looking at the framed pictures of them on his desk at work. But Randle said those days are over, and that he is determined to spend a lot more quality time with them.
"Those bikes are my pride and joy, but I've taken them for granted," Randle said. "And that's true for far too many other things, as well. From now on, I'm going to swim in my Olympic-sized pool, crack open that bottle of 1982 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, hire a pilot, and have him fly me all over the place in that Cessna two-seater I have in storage. What was I doing wasting my life away in an office when I had a beautiful $12,000 stereo just waiting for me at home?"
Randle used to regularly put in 16-hour days at Drexel corporate headquarters. His office was connected to a suite where he would often sleep after working deep into the night–only to rise at 6 a.m. to do it all over again. But those days are over.
"I've finally realized that an office is not a home," Randle said. "A spacious six-bedroom, five-bath property with its own private road on 56 acres in River Oaks–now, that's a home."
Continued Randle: "When I think of all the football I've missed watching on my $8,000 Thomson Electronics Proscan 61-inch rear-projection TV with six-speaker stereo surround sound, it just makes me want to cry. Moments like this year's Super Bowl, you can never get those back."
One of Randle's priorities is to catch up on lost time at Southgate Country Club, where he holds a $5,000-a-month membership.
"When was the last time I spent a sunny Saturday afternoon with my Ping signature-series golf clubs?" Randle asked. "I barely even know my titanium driver anymore. I know it may be tough, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to get back my swing."
It wasn't simply Randle's desire to reconnect with his most beloved possessions that made him decide to give up the hustle and bustle of corporate life. It was also "all the little things" he'd been missing out on by spending so much time away from home.
"All those gadgets I ordered from The Sharper Image over the years–the Ionic Breeze personal air purifier, the magnetic eye mask, the Escort Solo cordless radar/laser detector–I've never gotten to know them. I've never really even had time to read the instructions," he said. "Finally, after all these years, I'm going to understand what truly makes my stainless-steel Navy SEALs dive watch tick."
Even as he looks forward to being a full-time possessions man, Randle is still grappling with feelings of guilt over his old lifestyle.
"Can you believe I wasn't even there for the delivery of my first anti-gravity back-stretch/relaxation table?" Randle asked. "My wife had to sign the Hammacher Schlemmer invoice all by herself. I should have been there to lift that baby out of the box, but I was working at the time. What a fool I was."