Posted by Carl Icahn July 16, 2008 : 11:37 AM
When I launched the Icahn Report, The Chicago Tribune published an article by Eric Benderoff 'Memo to blogger Icahn: Give power to the people, not your lawyers,' on June 19, 2008. The article attacked the Icahn Report for its format and legalities, but completely missed the point of what the blog is diligently working toward; exposing the adverse effects of flawed corporate governance as experienced by me first-hand.
Legal restrictions aside, I am one of the first activist investors to honestly engage in discussion with the public concerning the atrocities experienced in America’s boardrooms. To Benderoff's point, that should be enough to be taken seriously.
Benderoff notes that "well into Thursday evening there were no comments approved for any of the seven posts his blog launched." Please note I have posted many of the comments and have responded to some of them. As I have explained previously, posting every comment would raise various legal issues that solely affect my blog because of my activist shareholder activities, such as conducting proxy contests. (I noticed comments on Benderoff's articles are moderated as well.) Linking also creates potential legal issues. I know that these limitations are not commonplace in the blogging community, but not many bloggers are activist shareholders.
Even so, my blog continues to maintain a robust and engaging dialogue from a number of readers. It's an exhilarating forum that I hope will continue to grow. I have received many interesting questions, suggestions and opinions that I hope to write about going forward. Many readers send me links to their blogs and I have enjoyed reading their insights.
Benderoff cites a commenter on his blog, Deanna Harms, who states, "Even our more conservative clients recognize the power of social media and are starting to put aside their uneasiness about loss of control in order to reap the overwhelming benefits." I agree with her. The fact I have a blog in the first place says something to her point. I find engagement in new media fascinating.
I, in turn, would point to another article entitled 'Icahn's blog puts more pressure on IR pros' by Tonya Garcia of PR Week. The article addresses how blogs are now affecting the investment community at large and questions whether investor relations departments are ready for this type of immediate manager- client engagement. The 'uneasiness' may not be uncalled for. I, alongside Investment Relations professionals at public corporations, must abide by legal restrictions that apply to outside communication and currently there is discussion on how these laws apply to new mediums such as blogs.
I am hoping that (with the help of this blog) the restrictions that apply to the aforementioned communications will evolve to allow for a more open exchange of ideas unburdened by legal technicalities. This is a new medium – and one that I hope will be a significant benefit to all shareholders.
I am interested to hear your thoughts.