Carl Icahn says our financial system is dysfunctional, there's no accountability, and corporate America is afflicted with waste and mismanagement.
These dismal views were expressed by the legendary 72-year-old Icahn in a recent interview in The Wall Street Journal.
While Wall Street tanked, says Icahn, CEOs "just walked away with millions, leaving shareholders and employees stranded."
Icahn, once known as a corporate raider, now prefers to be called a "shareholder activist," has taken steps to remedy these chronic problems by founding United Shareholders of America.
Icahn hopes the group, which he spearheads, can bring pressure on Congress to enact new legislation to make corporations and their CEOs more accountable.
"I really think current boards and managements are killing the country," Icahn says. "I'll tell you why, 'cause I lived it. I'm on a lot of boards and I see how ineffectual they are."
There are exceptions, of course, says Icahn.
But, he says, "I can go in and save 30 percent in almost any company because there's so much waste and mismanagement. [And] I'm not even a manager."
Icahn insists that the government bailout was necessary, but it wasn't hard enough on CEO pay and corporate accountability.
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, doesn't think any law is a remedy for a company's waste, mismanagement, or accountability.
Writing in his best-selling book, "Winning," Welch acknowledges the value of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but says no laws, no matter how good or strict, can guarantee good corporate governance.
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