COSTA MESA — Even though it hurts, the nation's corporate restructuring is ushering in better economic times, said T. Boone Pickens, Texas oilman, corporate raider and a founder of the shareholder rights movement.
He spoke in Costa Mesa on Thursday morning to a group of about 250 people attending a forum on leading public companies.
"The '80s won't be remembered as a decade of greed; it will be remembered as the decade of the shareholder rights movement," Pickens told his audience. He said the movement led to the so-called re-engineering of corporate America to make it more globally competitive.
The auto and computer industries were revitalized, said Pickens, adding that competition from Japan also worked to force that change.
"The economy could take off in the next few years, as the restructuring begins to pay off," he said.
Pickens' audience was adoring, asking him whether he would run for governor of Texas. The 65-year-old chairman of Mesa Inc. said he would rather work on whittling the $1.3-billion debt his company carries.
Pickens founded the United Shareholders Assn. in 1986, and its members have since challenged the power of corporate managers and directors to put their own interests above those of investors or shareholders. The group, saying its mission was accomplished, officially disbanded in October.
Institutional investors are now carrying that torch, Pickens said.