Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, talks about why it’s so important for people who have to give back. He’s on the board of trustees of Mt. Sinai, but admits to not a great board member. He is good at picking people, though, he says.
Carl Icahn video and transcripts below
well, you know, i feel that you have to i have go the money back.if it weren’t for this country, i’d still be on the streets of queens.what other country can you do this in? you know, i’ve joined thatgiving pledge. a lot of people say that i’m just a greedy guy and maybe there is some truth to that, but as far as i’m concerned, you know, i owe this country a great deal. why mt. sinai, carl?well, you know, i know ken davis. i’m on the board of trustees,but i’m not a great board member. i’m sort of an obsessive guy.i work all the time, so i haven’t gone to many meetings. i believe my time is better spent actually than just going to meetings where i really have to admit, i don’t understand a lot of the things they do over there. but i am — i think i am good atpicking people. and i was on the interview committee and on the committee, the search committee, when we looked for a new ceo. and i saw ken davis, and i told him that’s the guy you pick. he’s done a great deal to revitalize mt. sinai. he’s done a great job there. and it’s a great institution. and i’m involved with him. i consider him a friend. i don’t see him a great deal, but, in fact, i’m probably going to have dinner with him tonight. and so i got involved with ken and he showed me the great things they’re doing and eric schatt. i believe that the genetics, asimple thing to understand that that is going to be the majorchange, i think, in the world, actually. and in science. when we understand more about genetics.
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises discusses his feelings about corporate governance in this country, and why he’s going after eBay & Andreessen. Corporate governance is completely dysfunctional, he says.
response? you know, i mean, do the picture a little bit bigger, joe. you know, i really believe that this country, one of the great problems we’re going to have looking ahead, why we may lose our hegemony, corporate governance, with exceptions, is completely dysfunctional. and i’ve made a great deal of money, and i’m glad you say i know something about biotech and maybe i do know a little bit. but i will tell you this. that the reason i made the money isn’t because i’m a genius. it’secause it’s sort of simplistic. our companies are so badly run in many cases that all you have to do is really — i mean, it’s not simple, but all you have to do is get in there, get involved with these boards, change a lot of the things going on, and you have a much better company. you have assets that will be much more productive for us in society. we would take care of some of the ills. our pension funds are very underfunded today. bernanke, the fed and now yellen cannot just keep pulling us out of the mess we’re in. and one of the major things you have to do is fix these companies. now, i’ve been in a lot of them, as you know, joe. and this is what i like doing. and i think — i though it sounds corny, but i think i am doing some good for america by doing this. and people say, well, you do it just to make money. but i really don’t understand why i do it because, you know, i certainly don’t need any more money. but of all the ones i’ve been in — and i’ve been in a lot — i’ve never seen worse corporate governance than ebay. i’ve never seen somebody like andreessen. i might blame donahoe more than andreessen for making that happen. the company sold skype a year and a half later, they bought it for $2.7 billion and sold it for $8.5 billion. you don’t have to be a genius to understand that there’s something wrong. i remember covering that
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises says he finds it hard to believe Microsoft would not have bid for Skype. The idea there were no bidders is a myth, he says.
arl, thank you for joining us this morning. yeah, thanks for having me, ross. real quickly, help us just understand your involvement with mt. sinai. and you’ve given a lot of money away over the years. and i just want to understand your sort of philanthropic philosophy in terms of how you’ve even approached any of this. well, you know, i feel that you have to i have go the money back. if it weren’t for this country, i’d still be on the streets of queens. what other country can you do this in? you know, i’ve joined that giving pledge. a lot of people say that i’m just a greedy guy and maybe there is some truth to that, but as far as i’m concerned, you know, i owe this country a great deal. why mt. sinai, carl? well, you know, i know ken davis. i’m on the board of trustees, but i’m not a great board member. i’m sort of an obsessive guy. i work all the time, so i haven’t gone to many meetings. i believe my time is better spent actually than just going to meetings where i really have to admit, i don’t understand a lot of the things they do over there. but i am — i think i am good at picking people. and i was on the interview committee and on the committee, the search committee, when we looked for a new ceo. and i saw ken davis, and i told him that’s the guy you pick. he’s done a great deal to revitalize mt. sinai. he’s done a great job there. and it’s a great institution. and i’m involved with him. i consider him a friend. i don’t see him a great deal, but, in fact, i’m probably going to have dinner with him tonight.
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises discusses potential conflicts of interest and how often they occur in some technical and medical fields.
let me read you something. by the way, you mentioned forest labs, carl. and if you remember back in 2011, there was a bit of a debate. you were trying to get some of your nominees on the board. there were some other people saying that they had a conflict. this was a statement that was put out at the time from you and your team. potential conflicts of interest — and this may apply to marc now. potential conflicts of interest are by no means rare and seem to be especially frequent among technology companies and biotech companies. each of these fields seems to be intensely technical by nature. and as a result of all of that, you know, corporations involved in those areas often find it is useful to have a board of directors with significant experience in those areas which means that at least minor conflicts of interest often arise. so, you know, there’s the argument obviously that paypal should be separated from ebay. there’s a separate argument that somehow the board is corrupt because the people on the board are involved in the industries. is that an unfair charge? you know, my nominees didn’t find it necessary to take a $4.5 billion profit, though. it’s ridiculous. you look at the board, and you look at scott cook, that’s a business that’s directly competing with them. first of all, the nominees were not in any businesses. i don’t know who we’re talking about. maybe a nominee in biogen was also a nominee for imclone, i can’t remember. scott cook is intuit which competes directly with ebay, and he found it necessary to tell ebay who he could hire, and he got ebay, or he got donahue to put a freeze on who he would hire. i’m not — maybe i’m not saying it exactly correctly. and so therefore, the department of justice has a case against ebay right now, saying that they had no right to put a freeze on these guys. and i’m not explaining it properly. but i’ve never seen anything like it over here. but, i mean, the big thing is that this company was sold, and a year and a half later for a profit of $4.5 billion for the andreessen group. now, they had no money at the time or very little. he made 150. and then he went out and hit another grand slam with kinetics. so, i mean, i have never seen — and i’ll tell you, i’ve seen the best. i’ve been through the chesapeake wars. i’ve been with navistar where they wasted $7 billion. i’ve seen things that y i never saw anything like this as far as corporate governance, this concerned. you know, it’s time — it’s time for maybe me to relax a little bit at this. i’ve made billions. if i can make billions, others should come in more. i think some of the blame goes to a lot of these funds. there’s some funds that take this very seriously. and really protect their investors. but others don’t do a damn thing. and it’s time that they do something. it’s time we do something in this country about what goes on here.
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, says as bad as Washington is, what goes on in corporate boardrooms is even worse. At least there are elections every few years, he says.
it’s too big for even me. this area, i sort of know what i’m doing. i think i’m a worthy adversary. i can’t do it in government. and even in government, joe, and i’m not here to defend what goes on in washington, but even there, it’s infinitely better than the corporate boardroom. and i’ll tell you why. you do have elections. every four years or every two years, you know, the house of representatives come up. and the president comes up every four years. and you do have — it would be like the president appointing — you do have a somewhat fair election. you don’t have fair elections. you know, in a corporate suite, you’re the ex-ceo, even if you’ve done a real bad job, they increase your salary, they give you a big bonus. then you take the corporate treasury and spend millions and millions of bucks to hire a lawyer to defend you. if you’re running for president again and obama, you don’t want him to do that or a senator wanted to go and take money out of the treasury, you’d put them in jail. here the guys get away with it. and even in washington, i mean, look. i’m not here to defend washington. but they do some good stuff. i mean, there’s no question that you can criticize them like crazy. however, however, they don’t do what andreessen does, what donahue does. okay, you’re a world-class guy. i’m not even blaming andreessen. i guess if he can get away with
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, says he thinks that Tim Cook is doing a pretty good job running Apple, even though the stock is undervalued.
i think tim cook is doing a pretty good job. i hope there’s going to be a lot announced there. however, i say this. that what i’m really object to, and people say, oh, activists are short term. i’ll give you a list of companies, 15, 18 years. we’ve turned — the companies we own in our portfolio. you mentioned imclone. and even there we got in and really turned it around. but we make these assets bloom, and we hold them for a long time. and so i don’t know why tim cook was saying — you have to be concerned with return on investment, but you could look at the long term. and we have looked at the long term with companies, this refinery we just bought. we’re really making a great deal of at the long-term. with companies. this refinery we just bought. we’re making a great deal of money on it on. but we turned it around. i can give you ten companies. tim cook might be saying, hey, look, i want to do other things for society. i’m not here to defend tim cook,
Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, says he doesn’t believe eBay CEO John Donahoe should have anything to do with running PayPal.
this donahoe, you know, he may be a nice guy, but mostly he’s a nice guy. i don’t think he should be the guy running or having anything to do with paypal. just as zander should’ve yt an hing to do with running motorola mobility. i say the board was receptive there and saved the company. and instead of losing billions, which i think motorola might have gone down the tubes, we saved it. if you look at paypal, it’s a great company today. great. if you spun that off, you would enhance value for a number of reasons. you would attract great management and you would be able to attract other business. i think it’s terrible for ebay’s business. they gave up business in china to protect ebay and most important only, perhaps, in this company, in this group, they were up against these and while they got a big leg up now, now is the time to finish if you were independent, now is the time i would think to have three or four bids. again, they said you can’t get bids, nobody wants bids, but you know, when a company wants to be sold, it’s going to be sold and that’s great for our society. i keep saying that. okay. carl, we want to thank you very,