MediaFile

Axed Porsche CEO tries Robin Hood tactics to bolster blue collar image

Germans love to see the mighty fall just a little bit more than the rest of the world, and freshly ousted Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is a perfect candidate. Yes, he made tiny, almost bankrupt Porsche successful again but did he have to be so smug about it? And was he really worth the millions of euros he raked in every year in a country where executive pay is a thorny issue? His salary, which made him the best paid German manager by far, was a topic of endless fascination in the German media. Wiedeking never divulged how much he made but unapologetically said he deserved what he earned — estimated to have been 80 million euros last year. Even before his dismissal was official, speculation swirled about how extraordinary his severance payment would be, with some putting the figure at 250 million euros. In the end it was less but still a handsome sum of 50 million euros, considering he leaves Porsche with a huge mountain of debt. As Wiedeking climbs off the throne, he is eager to burnish his blue collar credentials and in Robin Hood style announced he would donate what’s left of his payment after taxes to charity. Some of it will go to a foundation for Porsche staff, some into projects to create new jobs and, in a final swipe at his critics, he promised to give to a charity for “elderly and suffering journalists”. Take that, hacks.

Sun Valley: Barred from the bar

Reporters who cover the annual Allen & Co media conference know that the bar at the Sun Valley Lodge is a great spot to sit with uber-execs from Rupert Murdoch to Google’s Eric Schmidt to get their deep thoughts on the state of media and technology.

That was true this year, at least on Tuesday night, when reporters like me got to sit with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner shareholder Vivi Nevo, former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin and others.

Someone complained, however, and tonight, reporters are not allowed to go to the bar.

Live blogging from Sun Valley

Reuters reporters Robert MacMillan, Yinka Adegoke and Alexei Oreskovic will be sending live updates from the Sun Valley gathering. Read their updates below or follow us on Twitter.

Sun Valley fashion police

Further to our earlier post on the hottest looks in executive casual at Sun Valley, here are a few more outfits hot off the runway.

Who gets your vote for America’s next top model?

 Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Michael EisnerWarren Buffett  Debra LeePhilippe DaumanTom Brokaw  Mike Volpi and Toni CupalShelby Bonnie and Cassey WassermanAnne Sweeney

Henry KravisBill MillerRon Meyer

Mouse over the photos to identify your favorite executive and comment below.

(Photos: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Moguls roll into Sun Valley

Media moguls — well really, tycoons of all kinds — trickled into the Sun Valley Lodge on Tuesday for Allen & Co’s annual pow wow in Sun Valley. Or, in the case of Rupert Murdoch, he drove a white Toyota SR5.

Here are some mugshots:

Rupert Murdoch

     Lachlan Murdoch     Bob Iger

Howard Stringer

     Gordon Crawford     Henry Vigil, Microsoft stategy chief
No wonder the swans got scared.

(Photos: Reuters)

Swans

Valley of the moguls

Swan smallerThey call it the Duck Pond, but it’s actually teaming with (vicious) swans. It’s considered a big media and tech powwow, but a broad swath of global corporate titans of finance and politics round out the guest list.

It’s the 26th annual Allen & Co Sun Valley conference, where high-wattage huddles transpiring on the tranquil resort grounds among stunningly rich business people swathed in questionable leisure wear could end up in big deals months from now. The legend springs from the track record: AOL and Time Warner, Walt Disney and CapCities/ABC, Google and YouTube are all said to have gotten started here.

In between knitting (!), yoga, white-water rafting and golfing, and bridge (!) games execs like Google’s trio Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin mix it up Disney’s Bob Iger, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch.

Madison Square Garden gets into the management game

jim-dolan.jpgMadison Square Garden, the storied New York City sports and entertainment venue owned by the Dolan family’s Cablevision Systems Corp, is getting further into the music business with a deal to take a minority stake in artist management company Front Line, it said on Wednesday.

Front Line’s backers seem to be the who’s who of New York media moguldom with stakeholders like Barry Diller’s IAC Interactive and Edgar Bronfman Jr’s Warner Music Group.

Front Line, led by Irving Azoff, is described as the world’s largest personal music management firm with artist clients including the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond and Christina Aguilera.

Malone, Diller and the story that ended the affair

maffei-sun-valley.jpgMedia titans John Malone and Barry Diller knew they had their fair share of disagreements over the years, but like many couples heading to divorce, they apparently needed someone else to tell them that.

Enter Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Vascellaro.

The media industry read with rapt interest her story in October that put in plain language how much tension had built up between the two over their partnership in IAC/InterActiveCorp. 

But as the two moguls duke it out in Delaware court this week, they keep invoking that story, day after day, as the moment that sent their relationship past the point of no return. 

Diller, Malone: Battle of the moguls kick off

bulls.jpgIts a (media) heavyweight battle: IAC’s Barry Diller vs Liberty Media’s John Malone.Not since former Disney chief Michael Eisner and one-time Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz squared off has the media industry seen as contentious a battle as the one we’re about to witness in Delaware on Monday as Diller and Malone fight in court over control.Long-time business partners are dueling over Diller’s move to break up the company in a plan that would eliminate IAC’s dual class share structure, which gives Malone’s Liberty some 62 percent of the company’s voting power. Under a longstanding agreement, Diller has been able to vote Liberty’s stake. Liberty now says IAC has breached that agreement by going against Liberty’s wishes.PaidContent posted a copy of Diller’s pre-battle message to troops.Eleventh-hour settlement hopes ahead of the trial have largely been dashed. Although there is still about a hour to go before the trial starts. Citing unnamed sources, NY Post says these talks are likely to continue through the week.Let the games begin.(Reuters)Keep an eye on:

    The hair-twirling, the fidgeting, the interjections. BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy learns how not to do an interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, when the crowd at South by Southwest Interactive turns on her. (News.com) Top six U.S. cable operators aim to spend $150 million to create a jointly owned company to court advertisers on a national scale. (NYTimes) Facebook, en Francais. (Reuters) MySpace’s talks with music industry heats up, considers launching service without Universal Music Group. (FT)

(Photo: Reuters)