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Annual "Worst CEO" List Released 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the top-of-the-heap dept.
angry tapir writes "Zynga's Mark Pincus made the annual 'Worst CEOs' list compiled by Dartmouth College professor Sydney Finkelstein. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Andrew Mason of Groupon received dishonorable mentions. Zuckerberg earned his dishonorable mention on the list partly due to his 'hoodie mentality.'"
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Annual "Worst CEO" List Released

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  • Methodology (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:13AM (#42543289) Journal
    Here's the methodology used:

    The methodology behind the list combines three factors: the firms' financial performance including stock returns and cash flow; the extent to which the CEO has behaved responsibly; and strategic leadership and corporate governance.

    Also, the CEO of Best Buy got the #1 worst ranking.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Finkelstein, you are yet another example of "those who can't do, teach" - how many multimillion dollar companies have you created? When you edge out all of the people on the "richest people on earth" list, maybe someone will listen to your bullshit rants.

      "...dishonorable mention on the list partly due to his "hoodie mentality...", "...when it comes to running a multibillion-dollar company, you have to behave a certain way...", "...not shown the proper respect...",

      Got any more examples of what an ass

      • Seriously. People skimming may think he included Zuckerberg because of, well, Zuckerberg is an ass himself... but actually it is because he didn't wear professional attire? Right guy, completely wrong reasons.

        • Re:Methodology (Score:5, Informative)

          by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:02AM (#42545021)

          He is not complaining about attire. A 'hoody mentality' is when you act like someone who is wearing a hoody - insulated from what is going on around you. That is a bad quality in a CEO - you need to know what is going on around you, and others need to know what you are thinking.

        • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:56AM (#42545687) Homepage

          Seriously. People skimming may think he included Zuckerberg because of, well, Zuckerberg is an ass himself... but actually it is because he didn't wear professional attire? Right guy, completely wrong reasons.

          Sorry, but your should have put a period after " People skimming may think he included Zuckerberg."

          He didn't. Zuckerberg did not make the list.
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/the-five-worst-ceos-of-2012/2012/12/18/0f353f14-4940-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story_1.html [washingtonpost.com]

          Zuckerberg is apparently like Hitler [knowyourmeme.com]-- any mention of him hijacks the thread, and all discussion of the actual content ceases.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          The criticism was for showing up to a meeting with potential investors and others, not fellow Facebook employees, wearing the wrong attire. Does he wear the hoodie to weddings? (probably he does, that's scary) His attire sends the message "screw you, I'm too important to wear something other than sweats to talk to you and beg for your money".

          • It's not the hoodie itself. It's that the preppy horse-faced gawping-gobbed shitcock thinks it makes him so totally street.

          • by tragedy (27079)

            The problem with that is that the concern about people wearing the "wrong attire" thing is one of those stupid social feedback loop things. All the arguments for wearing it are circular. Of course, plenty of things are based on such circularity but still manage to make some sense. The problem is, the same logic applies to whatever attire is required to conform and show respect to all the other people following the same trend in just about any place and time. Imagine showing up to the court of Elizabeth I wi

            • by Darinbob (1142669)

              It's not about correct attire, where quite a wide range of fashion styles would be acceptable. Instead it's about showing up with distinctly wrong attire. The criticism is not about not wearing an expensive suit, or not wearing a tie, or not wearing a button up shirt, etc. He showed up with attire that said he didn't care what they think while at the same time intending to ask them for favors.

              Look at it this way. Steve Jobs did not wear your typical east coast business attire. He could have shown up to

              • by tragedy (27079)

                I'm not really think of Mark Zuckeberg specifically, just the fetishism about avoiding "distinctly wrong attire". Maybe it's just that I don't like being choked by neck ties. The arguments for following these conventions have always just seemed too circular for me to take them seriously. I don't jump off bridges just because everyone else is doing it either.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "those who can't do, teach"

        AC, you may be yet another example of "those that can do neither stand back and criticize". It's fun and easy.

    • by nucrash (549705)
      His Methodology is complete and utter crap. Company growth should be included, but also look at the long term strategy, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction or employee turnover rate. I think Brian Driscoll of Hostess needs to be on that list as well as Leo Apotheker, not because he was a CEO this year, but because he failed so bad at it last year.
      • Re:Methodology (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @08:22AM (#42544673)

        His Methodology is complete and utter crap. Company growth should be included, but also look at the long term strategy, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction or employee turnover rate.

        I think Brian Driscoll of Hostess needs to be on that list as well as Leo Apotheker, not because he was a CEO this year, but because he failed so bad at it last year.

        Nobody gives a rat's rear about the long term. Get the most money you can as fast as possible, pass it out in fat raises and bonuses to the upper tiers, then watch them all flee for greener pastures.

        No point in measuring for anyone's satisfaction or the company's long-term prosperity. That kind of stuff went out with the 20th Century. Not enough holdouts to be worth considering.

        • You are actually wrong. You are wrong twice.

          You are wrong first because you think no one cares about the long term. You are wrong the second time because you think in the 20th century (70 years ago? 100 years ago?) things were different. They weren't, you have observer's bias: the only companies that have lasted are the ones that cared about lasting.

          I suspect if you reply to this, you will also reveal your lack of knowledge in other ways.
  • by Misanthrope (49269) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:13AM (#42543291)

    Meg Whitman...

  • Missing names (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zooblethorpe (686757) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:24AM (#42543333)

    Where the hell is Elop? I would have thought that cratering the company you're running would count something towards being a bad CEO.

    And shouldn't Ballmer at least rate a dishonorable mention?

    :-P

    • Re:Missing names (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:32AM (#42543355)

      Here's Elop

      From The Seven Biggest Collapses in Mobile Handset or Smartphone History - this is part 3 in the Nokia Disaster analysis series [blogs.com]

      NOKIA - 2010-2012 - FELL FROM 35% to 5% in TWO YEARS - AVERAGE FALL 62% PER YEAR - IS CURRENTLY ENDANGERED SPECIES AS FALL CONTINUES
      (Was ranked number 1 in market of smartphones)
      Cause of death - Elop Effect ie Osborne Effect combined with Ratner Effect - resulted in instant carrier boycott and retail boycott against Nokia, these furher damaged by another Osborne Effect by Elop and yet another by Ballmer, and the purchase of Skype by Microsoft causing a Microsoft-targeted sales boycott

      He's #1 in the mobile industry. #1 of losing.

      • Re:Missing names (Score:5, Informative)

        by fatphil (181876) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @04:54AM (#42543865) Homepage
        As someone who lost his job because of Elop, and I think he's definitely vying for a top-5 slot, you have to remember that Tomi Ahonen (behind that blog) is a total loon who is completely obsessed with Nokia, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
        • Yet, the numbers are hard to deny. Tomi seems lunatic on his blog, bug he is no fool. If there is another reason other than the stupid choices of Elop (killing their OSes, betting all your coin on the losing horse that windows is, insist on the error), I would more than curious to know.

        • by Bogtha (906264)

          At first glance his sources and reasoning seem solid enough. Can you elaborate?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          *We* can see he's lost the Wintel control to ArmAnd, but the people who compile these lists always do so in hindsight. Ballmer is still plausibly denying the failure with huge write-off, ramping up the price to the remaining captive customers and misdirections.

          Likewise Elop, he's "the sun will come out tomorrow" man. Still able to do leasebacks, got $2 billion from MS etc. still able to make the failure deniable.

          On the other hand Aubrey McClendon, well I read about him nearly 5 years ago, investing peronall

    • by rusty0101 (565565)

      I'm going to hazard that someone is holding the Nokia stock value up on the belief that the IP collection they supposedly are sitting on (patents including standards essential patents.)

      I agree that Ballmer should rate a dishonorable mention though. But other than the news this past week of how Windows stands compared to other OS' on all platforms, I haven't been hearing all that much about him this past year.

    • Re:Missing names (Score:5, Interesting)

      by niftydude (1745144) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:59AM (#42543453)
      Seems to be a worst CEO of US-based companies list. Nokia is Finnish. Also, Nokia is Finished :drumroll:.

      I would have thought Rupert Murdoch would rate a mention after the recent UK debacle though.
      • by erroneus (253617)

        Which explains why Microsoft wasn't on the list. Does anyone actually know what country they are based in now? With all the tax-dodging tricks these companies engage in these days, I am a little lost as to what planet they are based on, let alone which nation.

        • by gtirloni (1531285)
          The same planet that Google, Apple, etc are from.
        • Does anyone actually know what country they are based in now?

          Fantasyland?

      • Rodrigo Rato, President, Bankia (Spain) is fifth on the list. US-Based indeed.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seems to be a worst CEO of US-based companies list. Nokia is Finnish. Also, Nokia is Finished :drumroll:.

        I think you mean :rimshot:

    • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:13AM (#42543505) Homepage Journal

      And shouldn't Ballmer at least rate a dishonorable mention?

      You won't see Balmer in the main annual lists, he is up for the Lifetime Achievement award...

    • Re:Missing names (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Patch86 (1465427) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:26AM (#42543549)

      The two "dishonourable mentions" called out in TFA were both for the reason "I don't like their attitude". For Zuckerberg it was his "hoodie mentality" and acting like a "hacker", and for Mason it was his "frat boy" attitude.

      Seeing as Ballmer wears a suit, and could never be described as having a "hacker" demeanour, I imagine he's A-OK by the author.

      • Looking at the attitude and character of many "normal" CEO's, I think we could use a few more hackers and frat boys up there.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The two "dishonourable mentions" called out in TFA were both for the reason "I don't like their attitude". For Zuckerberg it was his "hoodie mentality" and acting like a "hacker", and for Mason it was his "frat boy" attitude.

        I'm sick and tired of these idiots who criticize Zuckerberg for showing up in his hoodie at meetings with Wall Street, on the basis that he's not "show respect" to investment bankers. Like him or not, he created something big, so how about the fucking leeches showing some respect for him instead of expecting it to be the other way around.

        • I see his "hoodie mentality" as his only positive trait.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            I never even heard the term "hoodie" until recently, I don't even know what "hoodie mentality" means. He just has a favorite jacket he always wears, he wore it when he was a student and is still wearing it now. Time to take it off and have it laundered.

            The meeting with investors was essentially to beg for money for his company (not for himself personally). He showed up and insulted everyone there with his style of dress. That's a bad CEO because he risked financial opportunities for his employees and in

        • Like him or not, he created something big

          ... for suitably "bilked someone else out of" values of created.

    • Re:Missing names (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SalsaDoom (14830) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @04:31AM (#42543777) Journal

      I don't know. Ballmer is one of my favorite CEO's in IT today, possibly in all of IT's history. Speaking as a Linux user, I hope he stays with Microsoft for as long as its operating ;) BALLMER RULES!

    • Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @05:03AM (#42543895) Journal

      Or in this case, follow the ideology of the "Professor" in question. We like to think people who think themselves smart are above having agenda's. But are they?

      I wonder how this guy DOES views Elop. Or indeed Nobuyuki Idei, the man who killed Sony. A managers manager, a man who had the shareholder firmly in mind. Who followed the tree factors that determined this list... AND ruined the company with it.

      This "professor" dislikes the "hoodie" mentality, dislikes companies thinking their engineers are important when they should be worried about this quarters stock performance. So... it isn't that much of a leap to conclude this professor is of the Wallstreet business school, you know, the guys who gave us this wonderful robuust economy.

      Are the mentioned CEO's bad leaders for their company OR did they just upset Wallstreet to much? ALWAYS question the source of a message, it tells you a lot about the message and how you should treat it. This list? Make up your own mind.

    • Re:Missing names (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @08:40AM (#42544815)

      Elop really did destroy a great company with great products. I agree he should be on that list.

      Ballmer really hasn't done anything, good or bad. Plus Microsoft stagnating is good for everyone except Microsoft and their shareholders.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Will be this year when Ballmer's move should fully show how bad a CEO is. Or a good one, delivering a good product is just part of the equation, pushing other factors to make even a very bad product to succeed counts too.
    • Came here to say this, Elop's dodged the overall worst CEOs list two years in a row now, and Ballmer certainly deserved at least a mention this year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2013 @02:52AM (#42543423)

    My top three are all social media related. Imagine that.

    1. Microsoft buys Yammer for $1.2 Billion
    "Enterprise social network" -- a solution looking for a problem. This is almost as bad an idea as Ballmer's Skype acquisition in 2011.

    2. Facebook buys Instagram for $715 Million
    Zuckerman didn't even ask the board. Meanwhile users are leaving Instagram like someone set the company on fire. And they're still not profitable.

    3. Zynga buys OMGPOP for $180 Million
    Pincus thinks he's the next EA, while the entire company rots away under him.

    There are a lot more (thinking rather pointedly of AMD, Apple, Samsung, Nokia), perhaps we can compile them all here.

    • by pecosdave (536896)

      1. Skype doesn't make its money directly from the user base, their income has to do with the fact that it's no longer peer to peer and encrypted to the point of being impervious to eavesdropping by those Microsoft allows. Yammer was probably just a bad move.

      Yeah, the rest just don't affect me in the slightest so whatever.

    • by gtirloni (1531285)
      I thought "enterprise social networking" was only for big corporations but after working at a 500-employee company, I noticed Yammer was heavily used there too. I guess it depends on the company's culture. Yammer might not be that bad acquisition at all.
      • by Rich0 (548339)

        They're really trying to push it at work but nobody really uses it. Discussion forums and such have some use, but not anything that involves individuals posting to some kind of "wall" or "activity stream" or whatever that is global in scope.

        The problem is that our companies (like many) have moved to move of a project-team design which is highly matrixed. For this project I work with these 5 people, and for another project I work with 5 other people. If I followed any of their streams most of the data wou

        • So you follow projects rather than people. Yammer lets you do that. I follow only a handful of people in our company and rarely bother with the global stream; the (business) value is in the groups.

          I thin this acquisition is a good move on Microsoft's part even though I think they overpaid. I'm only hoping that they don't wreck Yammer; Microsoft seems to be even less attuned to the needs of larger corporations than Yammer ever was. That statement might sound surprising but I've found it to be true tim
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Who would even WANT to be the next EA? EA has the Midas poo touch! Everything they touch turns to shit! They're just really, really good at making people think they want shit. Oooooh.... I see...
  • Management mentality (Score:3, Informative)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:07AM (#42543487) Homepage

    This quote pretty much sums up management mentality for me: In criticising M.Pincus, Zynga's CEO, this was one of the criticisms; "Unclear why it was necessary to buy this company (makes “Draw Something”) instead of copying it". A professor of management is criticising a manager for doing something morally right...

    • by cs2501x (1979712) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:32AM (#42543567)
      Zynga has a history of directly copying things--without regard to copyright. I think this call out was meant to point out a deviation from its normal behaviour of 'fuck the other guy'. " Zynga CEO to employees: 'I don't f***ing want innovation' " "I don't fucking want innovation," the ex-employee recalls Pincus saying. "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers." Check it out: http://blog.games.com/2010/09/08/zynga-ceo-to-employees-i-dont-f-ing-want-innovation/ [games.com]
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Zynga has a history of directly copying things--without regard to copyright. I think this call out was meant to point out a deviation from its normal behaviour of 'fuck the other guy'.

        Funny, getting sued by one of the companies with the biggest wallet in the industry SHOULD spur deviation from normal behaviour.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Zynga has a history of directly copying things--without regard to copyright.

        Wait, if they violated copyright, why weren't they sued?

        *UNfortunately*, IMHO, things like the rules of a game can't be copyrighted. That's why things like Words with Friends can be essentially direct copies of Scrabble, without getting into trouble.

        Scrabulous *was* removed due to copyright infringement suits.

    • You seem be drowning in that "Intellectual Property" Kool-Aid. Businesses copy each other all the time. It's called progress. It's not immoral. Buying a company is just a quick way to get access to a new product or feature as opposed to building your own from scratch.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        You might want to read up on Zynga's history. There's a difference between copying as in "heavily inspired by" and copying as in "cloning as close as possible".

    • by Miros (734652)
      Morally right / wrong with "copying" products is not so black and white. What one person would call "copying" another would call "competition." Competition is a good thing and should be encouraged as much as possible. I would even expect many in the Slashdot crowd to argue that current legal intellectual property protections should be weakened specifically to encourage innovation and lower prices - both of which are good for consumers. If the firm in question did not develop any technology that couldn't
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2013 @03:24AM (#42543535)

    I feel there have to be worse things than what is mentioned in the story. Things like demotivating your entire company by firing people the day before their promised stock vests, actually killing the company you're running, stealing a significant chunk of money or other assets, keeping the company alive only because of a massive bail-out, those are things I would expect to make the list.

    What's actually on the list seems comparatively tame. Hoodie mentality, seriously? Do we really still value complying with dress codes that were set in a different era higher than actually creating a multi-billion dollar company?

    Disclaimer: I work for Facebook, however, I imagine my opinion would be much the same if I didn't. Also, this is my personal opinion; not necessarily that of my employer.

    • by N1AK (864906)
      Exactly. Two of their criteria are entirely judgemental which makes your trust of their 'judgement' vital to your perception of the lists credibility. I actually think that formal dress codes can/are a nominal advantage in some ways but the idea that it would have any noticable affect on CEO ratings is laughable.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        There are formal dress codes, and there are informal dress codes, and there is casual dress. Zuckerberg isn't in any three of those categories. He just doesn't care. And his lack of caring may actually be hurting his company. He may be the absolute monarch of his company but he still needs allies outside of that company. You can't take a private company public very easily while acting like an ass. He didn't have to wear a suit when wooing investors, but he should have switched the attire to not look l

    • by zachie (2491880)
      TFA does state at the bottom that "Rodrigo Rato of Bankia was listed fifth behind Pincus". He (arguably? allegedly?) did a few of the things you mention at Bankia, a large Spanish bank that got a massive bailout from the State for several billion EUR.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Genuine question: which ones are seen to do a good job in these times? Who are the candidates?

    Without a "good" reference, it is difficult to define "worst". Or is everyone bad since the tech sector have had some rough times?

    • Warren East at ARM, António Horta-Osório at Lloyds. Dunno about the US, don't generally follow US stocks. I guess Ellison and Larry Page have overseen some good moves recently.
  • Just sayin' he destroyed one of the best compiler brand assets at the time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Yocam [wikipedia.org]
  • Ballmer, Whitman, Fiorina, Elop for obvious reasons and every single oil company CEO and Director Board for pursuing some of the most short sighted and disastrous policies and ideas which will really hurt this planet in the long run.

    The guy who ran BP should be handed over to Taliban. The same with the guy who runs Foxconn and Walmart if they don't change their offshoring, outsourcing and labor policies.

    The Zynga / Facebook crowd does not deserve a mention, they made mistakes, they are yet to create a
  • by miquels (37972)
    Why isn't Paul Polman, CEO of Unox not on the list?
  • The demerit against Mark Pincus CEO of Zynga:

    Another incompetent acquisition: OMGPOP for almost $200 million (4x revenue). Writedown of 50per cent of purchase price after 7 months. Unclear why it was necessary to buy this company (makes “Draw Something”) instead of copying it, since there are no barriers to entry.

    So Business Week is unclear why a company decided to buy the competition instead of simply copying their product, all the while getting their pants sued off [slashdot.org] for copying someone else's game?

    Really BW? Really? You don't think repeating the decisions that got you sued is a bad thing? What next? CEO of BP for their lack of oceanic lubrication in the past financial year?

    • So Business Week is unclear why a company decided to buy the competition instead of simply copying their product, all the while getting their pants sued off [slashdot.org] for copying someone else's game?

      Really BW? Really? You don't think repeating the decisions that got you sued is a bad thing? What next? CEO of BP for their lack of oceanic lubrication in the past financial year?

      From a business perspective, I would expect it depends on whether it's more profitable to copy-and-be-sued, or to acquire, surely?

  • Or libel, or slander, or whatever?

  • If scale was ignored and it was just percentages, my company's CEO would win hands down against every person listed in that article. He went against everything and everyone else to make a disastrous decision that resulted in at least 1/8th of our gross income being wasted. He also researched and pushed a competing server replacement solution with friends of his, who happened to basically be scam artists, and I had to play with the prices and fight hard to get an actual, working solution in instead. Also,
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wear a hoodie at least once a week. That's never stopped me from getting good performance appraisals. Maybe Mark's office is just cold?
  • is at the top of my list of all time worst CEOs...

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