NEW YORK — The interrogators wanted to find out CBS' position on apartheid, the size of its legal bills and charitable expenses, its position on reporting the Kremlin's "disinformation" and its employee complaint policy.
"Yes, we have a policy," said CBS Chief Executive Laurence A. Tisch, who has been criticized in the press by employees and others for the company's deep staff cutbacks. "We have a direct line to the New York Times for all employee complaints."
The jest was one of several ventured by Tisch on Wednesday as he led his first annual meeting as chief executive through the two-hour cross-examination of gadflies and other shareholders. At a time when his budget-cutting and layoffs have brought serious image problems, he seemed happy enough to show a strong sense of humor.
When a brief shouting match broke out between two shareholders, he counseled one: "Don't get upset. You're going to hear a lot of wild statements today."