Retiring AOL Time Warner Inc. CEO Jerry Levin will no doubt get plenty of
accolades before he exits May 16, but he took some heat March 5 at a dinner
during Bear Stearns & Co.'s annual conference for media investors.
Instead of the 'farewell tour' Bear Stearns sought to orchestrate, Levin was
blasted by State Street Research & Management Co.'s Larry Haverty, long a
major media investor.
After Levin spoke to the 800 or so assembled, Haverty stood and blamed
Levin's management for 'destroying $150 billion in value.'
He then compared Levin to Walter Forbes, the former chairman of Cendant
Corp., who is under indictment in one of the biggest pre-Enron Corp.
Even attendees accustomed to Haverty's brashness were startled. 'Comparing
him to Walter Forbes and Cendant, you are calling him a crook,' one witness
Levin replied that his entire net worth is tied up in AOL Time Warner stock
and, 'I've suffered that loss, too.'