Carl Icahn and Hank Greenberg: No Time For Golf

carlicahngolf.jpgCarl Icahn and Hank Greenberg don’t play golf. And they don’t like executives who do. On Wednesday we went to the Wall Street Journal’s Deals and Dealmakers conference, and while everyone else was frantically scribbling down what Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said about globalization—hint: he’s for it—we found ourselves more interested in the slightly less, well, earth moving details.
Golf—arguably the most popular pastime in America—didn’t score well with two headliners.
“I hate golf,” former AIG chairman Greenberg told the assembled crowd of investment bankers. “I play tennis. It doesn’t take long. Then I get back to work.”
After his talk we asked Greenberg about the popularity of golf among corporate executive.
“A lot of people like to get away from their work,” he said. “You have to wonder about whether they like what they’re doing.”
Icahn, the legendary corporate raider turned shareholder activist, was even more dismissive of golf. For him golf players symbolized the kind of clubby, chummy corporate executive he thinks is dragging down American business.
“These guys would rather play golf, slap each other on the back,” he said. “I want a guy running a company who sits in his tub at night thinking about the challenges he faces. The guy who can’t let it go. The focused guy.”
Yesterday we noted that Carl Icahn is not just short golf. He also tried to short Blackstone just after it’s IPO.

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Comments (41)

  1. Posted by d-bags live in Newport Beach | June 29, 2007 at 11:01 AM

    There’s no way I could count all the times my boss has left in the middle of the day to play golf -I’ll just say infinity

  2. Posted by BSD | June 29, 2007 at 11:35 AM

    “I want a guy running a company who sits in his tub at night thinking about the challenges he faces. ” Is that what Icahn does when soaking in his tub with Gail?
    Work at PIMCO by any chance? Sounds like someone I know there..

  3. Posted by CT | June 29, 2007 at 11:44 AM

    Hell, I used to see Welch playing at a club here in Connecticut. Icahn is just upset that he sucks at golf.

  4. Posted by SheckyBuffett | June 29, 2007 at 11:51 AM

    Twain said, “Golf is a good walk ruined.”

  5. Posted by Bid Em Up Bruce | June 29, 2007 at 12:28 PM

    Sort of ironic as Icahn fought long and hard and ultimately flexed his financial muscles to become the first jewish member at uber-exclusive Indian Creek County Club in Miami.
    Also AIG has it’s own private golf course that I believe Hank bought…

  6. Posted by anon anon anon | June 29, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Ichan would short himself if he went public. And Greenberg would play golf if he could get “a little unfair advantage.” wink wink.

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