One of the ideas behind this blog is that the world of business is full of
big egos, and that egos trump economics on a very regular basis. On the other
hand, it’s rare to find the sitting CEO of a publicly-listed company admitting
that the world of big business can often be reduced to a pissing match between
two hard-headed individuals. CEOs like to pretend that they’re selfless servants
of their shareholders, even when everybody knows otherwise.
Unless you’re Mel Karmazin, of course. Mel just gave an interview
to Portfolio’s Nancy Hass where he’s only too happy to admit that after merging
CBS with Viacom, board meetings were essentially knock-down fights between himself
and Sumner Redstone:
You could have sold tickets to those board meetings with you and Sumner.
Oh, they were fun. While I was there the Osbournes were
on MTV, and I will tell you, Sumner and I were far, far more interesting to
Yeah, loads of fun, I’m sure. Especially for those long-suffering shareholders.
Of course, Mel could always blame Sumner, back in the day, if the share price
fell. He can’t do that at his new shop, Sirius, whose shares
were last seen trading at $3.08 apiece, half the price they were at the beginning
of last year, and down from somewhere north of $80 back during the dot-com boom.
" I like the idea of the report card—the stock price," Mel
tells Hass. Does that mean he’s officially giving himself an F?