Barry Diller told the Financial Times yesterday that executive compensation is “no big deal” and that he thinks corporate governance reforms are undermining the competitiveness of US business. “We [Americans] have found ways to take our competitive edge actually mechanically away from us,” Mr. Diller (in all likelihood) snarled. “You have boards now that are skittish in every area. They’ve made chief executives very skittish.” (“You know who else is skittish? Skittish people. That’s who else is skittish.”)
Diller also noted that exec compensation is “a very tiny slice of companies’ overall expenses” (which really quite true: the management at Scores hasn’t does business via barter in years) and blamed those good for nothing journalists for making mountains out of molehills. (This may or may not be true, though the assertion that what reporters are doing is “close to criminal” seems a smidge mellow-dramatic, even for the guy who is rumored to have brought down the house during his high school drama club’s production of West Side Story.)
The D-man also took the time to defend a few of his friends’ paychecks. He told FT that Bob Nardelli had been robbed and, for his big finish—we can only assume—brought in the big guns:
Take Enron—that’s a classic example of people sticking their noses where they don’t belong. I actually considered a letter-writing campaign on behalf of Lay and The Koz, my brethren, but figured they were going to get off, considering what I thought was a baseless case being waged by a couple of overeager prosecutors. I still call mistrial. I do. I do.