gray matter
n. Experienced executives hired to give a firm the appearance of credibility amd reputability, particularly in a new company dominated by young entrepreneurs.
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Remember it was computer people who coined the term "gray matter" — older employees who are hired specifically because of their years, in order to add credibility to the enterprise.
—Mark Nelson & Dale Dauten, “The Shots You Don't Take,” The New York Post, October 04, 1998
Often, the consulting firm is involved in the "grey matter" side of the project, the organization is responsible for its operationalization, and therefore teamwork is required.
—Pierre Filiatrault & Jozee Lapierre, “Managing Business-to-Business Marketing Relationships in Consulting Engineering Firms,” Industrial Marketing Management, March 01, 1997
1996 (earliest)
Gray Matter
Older, experienced business people hired by young entrepreneurial firms looking to appear more reputable and established.
—Gareth Branwyn, “Jargon Watch,” Wired, January 01, 1996
But in 2001, an "old school" emphasis on improving the efficiency of operations and locating customers with deep pockets is back in vogue, and a tech company's investors breathe a sigh of relief when a "gray hair" (or a "no hair") CEO is in charge.
—Scott Kirsner, “Downturn dictionary,” The Boston Globe, November 12, 2001