CEO Attacks Corporate Governance

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Governance Researchers and Writers are Birdbrains!

Updated December 2, 2006

Barry Diller, CEO, IAC InterActiveCorporation (IAC) CEO Barry Diller, whose 2006 compensation is estimated at $295 million, said Monday many corporate governance writers and researchers are "birdbrains". Diller was listed as the highest paid corporate executive in 2005.

Diller is giving voice to many corporate executives irritated with the public disclosure of their compensation packages and the reporting requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Rather than attack the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who are responsible for the reporting requirements (a task which they seem to have left to the US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson), corporate executives such as Diller are taking their ire out on workers and writers in the field of corporate governance.

Here is a sampling of Diller's comments:
• "My problem with governance is that it's really hurting American business."

• "I think the whole (governance) consultant group should be flushed into the East River and no value loss would ever be seen by man."

• (Governance is) "completely misunderstood, certainly by the birdbrains that write about it. I mean their reactions to everything are so dim, and I am talking about The Corporate Library and I'm talking about these people that analyze these things and haven't a clue." (The Corporate Library, a research organization based in Portland, gave IAC's governance a D, on an A to F scale.)

• "Ninety-nine percent of the observers would say, 'you have lousy corporate governance because of interlocking relationships (among directors), because you are a controlled company'."

• "...the whole issue of executive compensation and particularly the policy of The New York Times business section toward executive compensation ... (is) absolutely loony." Diller criticized the New York Times' business writer Gretchen Morgenson, and Nicholas Kristof (op-ed columnist). Diller said he laughed after reading Kristof 's November column that suggested Diller "may be the laziest man in America" since Diller is paid roughly $150,000 an hour to get motivated to do his job.