Viacom's Dauman comments pale compared to insults by other CEOs

Tue Feb 9, 2016 5:57pm EST
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(Editor's note: this story contains language that may offend some readers)

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO Feb 9 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc's Chief Executive Philippe Dauman rattled investors by lashing out at critics on a conference call, but his comments were not nearly as outrageous as those of some other heads of companies.

In his first public remarks since being tapped last week to replace Sumner Redstone as Viacom's executive chairman, Dauman took umbrage with critics during a call with analysts, "Our outlook and the facts have been distorted and obscured by the naysayers, self-interested critics and publicity seekers."

Viacom shares closed down more than 21 percent at a five-year low.

In the annals of peeved chief executives, Dauman's performance was tame. He did not raise his voice or swear.

Most famously, in 2001 when Jeff Skilling was Enron's CEO, he fired off a vulgarity during a conference call when a fund manager said, "You're the only financial institution that can't come up with balance sheet or cash flow statement after earnings."

"Well, thank you very much, we appreciate that. Asshole," Skilling replied.

Skilling, who headed Enron for six months, was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in maintaining a facade of success as Enron's energy business crumbled.   Continued...