Today's English expression is "step aside." It's a phrasal verb that has a couple of meanings, but the most common meaning is to voluntarily resign or give up a position. In today's lesson, you heard that Angela Merkel recently stepped aside as Chancellor of Germany . She has held Germany's top political job for sixteen years and has been in politics almost since Germany's reunification in 1990. But she chose not to run for another term in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament. And as a result , she stepped aside as Chancellor when the new coalition government was officially installed.
Often when we use "step aside," we're talking about a situation where one person is letting another person take the job or become the leader. We often use it when there is a logical time for a person to end their tenure, the end of a term for example.
"Step down" is what we would use if someone resigned from office before the end of a term or if the person must resign after some type of controversy. But if someone voluntarily allows another person to take a role or a leadership position, we use "step aside."
You don't have to be a political leader to step aside, but you do generally have to be a leader of some kind. Mike Krzyzewski is the men's basketball coach at Duke University; he's one of the most famous university basketball coaches ever in the United States. He has coached at that prestigious university since 1980, back before I was born. But the 74-year-old said he would step aside at the end of this season. That means he will voluntarily give up the job and let someone else take over the men's basketball program. He might retire or he might go do something else. But he is going to step aside as the head coach and let someone else take the job.
The boss of a company can step aside. At a big company, the CEO can be fired by the Board of Directors; that's not good. The CEO can resign in disgrace if they presided over illegal activity. Or, and this is what companies hope, after a certain number of years the CEO can step aside and let someone else take the top job.
Will Warren Buffett step aside as chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway? A lot of people think he should. He's currently 91 years old and is still in charge of the investment company he founded. The number-two person at Berkshire Hathaway is Charlie Munger. He's 97, so when Warren Buffett steps aside, it won't be Munger who takes over. Like most large companies, Berkshire has a plan for what will happen if the CEO retires or dies. The company has identified Greg Abel as the next CEO. We still don't know if Buffett will step aside…or if the nonagenarian will stay in the job for the rest of his life.
JR’s song of the week
It's Thursday, so JR has a song of the week. He's chosen "Due West" by Kelsey Lu. "Due west" means straight west, not "west and a little north" or "mostly west but a little south." "Due west" means straight west. If you're in most places in America and you go due west, you end up in California. And that's what this song is about, going to California. "Due West" by Kelsey Lu is the song of the week, thanks to JR.
See you next time!
And that's all today. Congratulations on reaching the end of another Plain English lesson. Remember you can find the full lesson online at PlainEnglish.com/423. That includes the transcript, how-to video, translations, exercises, and more. We'll be back on Monday with another lesson. See you then!