RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Carl Icahn speaks loudly in the business world. Just ask Motricity, where he has placed himself on the board (displacing his son, who had the idea to invest in the company) . And now he’s ranting in the blogosphere.
His first target in “The Icahn Report”: Corporate leadership, including boards and CEOs.
“The lack of competent leadership makes our companies less competitive day by day, causing an upward spiraling trade and current account deficit, as well as a near meltdown of the financial sector,” he wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
“The buildup of incompetent boards and managers is the result of poor corporate governance. Poor corporate governance now threatens more than just potential shareholder value; it threatens this country’s very economic survival.”
Rumors have circulated for months that Icahn planned to launch a blog but had been stopped by his attorneys. He went live with a blog on June 12 and has posted several meaty items since – including two on June 16.
He also takes the blog quite seriously, as the comments I’ve quoted indicate. And there are many more. Icahn is pulling no punches – maybe that’s why the lawyers were so scared. (Be sure to read the legalese at the bottom of his blog.)
“Many American corporations are dysfunctional because corporate democracy is a myth in the United States,” he added. “They run like a decaying socialistic state. Our boards and CEOs exist in a symbiotic relationship where the boards nourish the CEO with massive stock options that are re-priced downward if the companies stock declines – making them forever valuable. They reward the CEO with pay packages and bonuses when the stock is floundering or the CEO is leaving the company. Corporate performance and the shareholders welfare seldom enter the picture. What kind of democracy is this? There is no accountability.”
Maybe through his blog there will be – at least accountability as applied through public scrutiny.