An excerpt from Karl Icahn’s biography
“In many big corporations, the person who makes waves, who gives criticism, who does things to rock the boat — hell, he’s a persona non grata,” Icahn said. “The guys above him who are worrying about their jets and their other perks see to it that he’s kept down in the ranks. That he doesn’t make trouble.
“In most cases, boards don’t rock the boat either. They just come to get their paychecks. They don’t rock the boat because they are members of each other’s boards and each other’s compensation committees.
Everyone is watching out for everyone else.
“You have to understand how the system is structured. The guy who gets to the top of the big corporations is, with notable exceptions, a political animal. He’s a survivor. He knows how to watch his back. That means hiring a number two guy that’s not as smart as him. That works for the CEO because he’s never threatened by his second in command.
“But think what that does to our corporate establishment. If the number two guy is always a little worse than the number one guy, sooner or later you’re going to have a country run by a bunch of morons. In American business we have a reverse Darwinism that provides for the Survival of the Unfittest.”