Mel Karmazin, Failure?

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?

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