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Billionaire investor Carl Icahn says the US has far too many terrible CEOs — and blames them for spurring high inflation

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

  • Billionaire Carl Icahn said there are far too many “terrible CEOs” not held accountable in the US.
  • He blamed them for driving economic problems like high inflation and the widening wealth gap.
  • He spoke ahead of an HBO documentary called “Icahn: The Restless Billionaire” that premiered Tuesday.

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has warned the US has too many “terrible CEOs”, whose performance is harming the economy by driving high inflation and income inequality.

Speaking ahead of the premiere of an HBO documentary on his life, Icahn – nicknamed the “Lone Wolf of Wall Street” — said productivity at large corporations is suffering because their boards of directors aren’t overseeing CEOs enough. 

“A major reason for my participation in the film was that I wanted to convey the following message: There are many good CEOs and boards, but there are far too many terrible ones that are hurting our economy…” the Icahn Enterprises chairman  said in a tweet Tuesday.

—Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) February 16, 2022


“Even though we have great corporations, the boards of these companies don’t hold their CEOs accountable, and we are therefore not nearly as productive as we should be, which is a major reason for inflation and the wealth gap,” he added.

US consumer price inflation — which takes into account costs of everyday meals to apartment rents — hit its highest level in nearly four decades in January, at 7.5%.

Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and the poor in the US has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report from Oxfam America. Although a wealth gap existed before the outbreak, the rich only got richer when millions of people were hit with job losses, wage cuts, and furloughs, it found.

Activist investor Icahn, whose net worth is estimated at $23.6 billion, has spent years trying to get CEOs and boards to fall in line with his demands, made in the name of shareholder profit. He famously urged Netflix to find a buyer in 2012, but abandoned the idea after seeing a showing of “House of Cards.”

Icahn didn’t single out any CEO by name, nor did he point to any particular company’s board in his tweets.

HBO’s “Icahn: The Restless Billionaire,” which premiered Tuesday, features comments from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Read More: Billionaire investor David Einhorn just revealed his top 10 holdings. Here’s why the hedge-fund chief bought each stock — plus why he likes Rivian more than Tesla

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