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Billionaire Sam Zell: BlackRock's Larry Fink is 'extraordinarily hypocritical' to push social responsibility

  • BlackRock's Larry Fink is "extraordinarily hypocritical" to push companies for more social responsibility, billionaire Sam Zell says.
  • The New York Times reports Fink will inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than just make profits.

BlackRock's Larry Fink and other CEOs are "extraordinarily hypocritical" to push companies for more social responsibility, billionaire investor Sam Zell told CNBC on Tuesday.

The New York Times reported Fink will tell business leaders in a letter on Tuesday that their companies need to do more than just make profits. Companies need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive support, Fink argues in a draft letter obtained by the Times.

Fink's BlackRock manages more than $6 trillion in investments through 401(k) plans, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds.

Fink and seven partners founded BlackRock in the late 1980s, and the firm has grown to the largest asset manager in the world.

"They talk about the fact that they're in effect going to do exactly what market does," said Zell, the founder and chairman of property specialist Equity Group Investments. "And then they put up public policy statements that suggest that they're going to advocate the market doing things other than what happens every day."

"Either they're a passive fund that follows the market or they're a leader that's setting the tone," Zell said in an interview on "Squawk Box," adding BlackRock can't have it both ways.

Zell questioned whether America is ready to have BlackRock "in charge of the NYSE," saying "I didn't know Larry Fink had been made God."

Zell made his fortune in the real estate business over a decadeslong career. He describes himself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. He's also an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education.

He chairs five NYSE-listed companies, including three real estate investment trusts.

BlackRock did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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