Carl Icahn

On November 14, the Wall Street Journal published a memorable interview with the outspoken Carl Icahn. His comments about CEO's and boards should get drummed into the brain of each shareholder. Most probably his insights are also valid for the CEO's and boards of Swiss companies. That's at least my assumption given my very modest knowledge about some of their representatives.

Some funny excerpts:

  • „You had very few real, functioning boards to control what went on on Wall Street.“

  • „The CEO puts friends on the board, his cronies, and in the end those guys aren’t going to throw him out. These CEOs, with many exceptions, are very mediocre guys.“

  • „They just walked off with hundreds of millions, leaving shareholders and employees stranded. And where’s the outrage?“

  • „New laws will make CEOs realize that if they’re going to mess up and they’re playing golf all day, some shareholders will be able to call a meeting to say no more poison pills, no more staggered boards, we want you to get out of here.“

  • „I’m on a lot of boards, I see how ineffectual they are. Some boards are so bad that it’s (almost) funny. There’s no need to watch Saturday Night Live anymore, I just sit at a board meeting.“

  • „So basically, it’s much easier to elect the leader of the Free World than to change the management of a company. It’s much easier, because you have fair rules.“

  • „I can go in and save 30% in almost any company because there is so much waste and mismanagement …“

  • „Because even some of these CEOS that are doing a terrible job and playing golf all day . . . if they knew they could be accountable they could probably do a much better job.“