The CEOs who need to go

As 2012 nears, investors' patience is wearing thin with these poor performers.

By Jonathan Berr Dec 27, 2011 5:28PM
Image: CEO (© Photodisc/Getty Images)If you're compiling a list of CEOs who deserve to be fired, the challenge is not in finding deserving candidates. It's in cutting down the list to the most deserving.

My list of endangered CEOs is based on several objective criteria. First, I tried to separate companies hurt by macroeconomic factors beyond their control from those whose fortunes were hurt by specific management decisions. Then I culled the list further to include companies with stock prices down by at least 30% for the year. 

A few companies, such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), are on the bubble after reporting disappointing quarterly earnings that made Wall Street wonder whether the company's growth would slow

Inclusion on my list does not mean that Wall Street has abandoned all hope that the stock price will increase. These shares all have theoretical upsides that may or may not happen with the current CEO.

Here is the list of the most endangered CEOs:
Research In Motion (RIMM) has two CEOs sharing the title: Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. Price decline this year: 75.01%. On the hotseat: RIM is proof that that when it comes to corporate management, two heads are not necessarily better than one. The Canadian company recently stunned investors when it announced that a new line of BlackBerry phones would be delayed until a more efficient microprocessor was available. Its earnings continue to be awful.

Sears Holdings (SHLD) CEO Lou D'Ambrosio. Price decline this year: 53.57%. On the hotseat: When D'Ambrosio was named CEO of the venerable retailer, Chairman Eddie Lampert called him "the right person to lead and transform Sears Holdings." Less than a year later, Sears continues its death spiral. The Illinois company Tuesday announced plans to shutter as many as 120 stores in the wake of awful holiday sales. D'Ambrosio may make a convenient fall guy, since Lampert, who has faced declining sales since 2005, isn't likely to fire himself.  Whatever hopes of a turnaround I saw have been dashed.

AOL (AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong. Price decline this year: 34.92%. On the hot seat: Armstrong needs to put up or shut up. Armstrong, a former Google (GOOG) executive, has gobbled up sites such as the Huffington Post and has launched more than 800 Patch local news sites.  The strategy has not paid off yet and some investors are losing patience with Armstrong.

Best Buy (BBY) CEO Brian Dunn. Price decline this year: 31.64%. On the hot seat: The world's largest consumer electronics firm recently made headlines when it announced it would not be able to fill some holiday orders. This is an epic screw-up that should cost Dunn his job. Plus, there is the company's dismal earnings.

--Jonathan Berr is a former AOL freelance writer.  He does not own shares of the listed stocks.

Dec 27, 2011 7:13PM
On the other hand, there are 535 "CEOs"  who believe they are royalty, who should be (more or less) fired next year.
Dec 27, 2011 7:13PM

CEO's huge salaries + great employees = no bonuses for the great employees

Dec 27, 2011 7:05PM
Too many CEO's of public corporations making big time salaries and "goodies" fail to perform and yet still rake in the cash.  This is why the way U.S. corporations are managed is terrible.  The salary and benefits should be tied to the growth and profits of the company.  Also, just firing a bunch of people is not enough.  It should be real growth.  The growth of CEO salaries keeps climbing faster and faster while that of the people producing keeps dropping.  Sick!
Dec 27, 2011 8:08PM
They get fired from one company for running it into the ground, it gives them a big fat bonus, sends them down the road, another faltering company picks them up and then the whole routing starts over again. They get fired again, get a nice fat bonus then once again move on and on and on. With big corporations it's a win win deal to get fired as the CEO.
Dec 27, 2011 8:22PM

I think most if not all CEO's should be fired and replaced by more affordable CEO's.  Pay the new guy $5 million rather than $130 Million.  Let them get a taste of their own medicine!  They are all greedy selfish fools that should be sent to the moon on a one way trip!

Dec 27, 2011 7:45PM

Why doesn't anybody ever hold the board of directors liable in these situations?  They pick dope after dope to run these companies. 

Dec 27, 2011 7:33PM
It just goes to show that the Board of Directors' that influence these companies....need to get their head out of their azzes.
Dec 27, 2011 7:01PM
I'd be willing to take the jobs of both D'Ambrosio and Lampert for 1/3 of what the lowest paid of either of them made last year, and I would have Sears back in the saddle in 12 months.  These guys are hood ornaments: all show and no go.
Dec 27, 2011 7:21PM
Lowell McAdam, New CEO of Verizon, thinks that getting rid of all the landline, high speed Internet and FiOS is the direction that the company should go in. He is too wet behind the ears to realize that we bring in billions in profits with that product. Little man with big dreams.
Dec 27, 2011 7:37PM
It's clear that many men and women of high ability and moral caliber no longer seek the C-level executive suite. What a shame!
Dec 27, 2011 10:44PM
Dec 27, 2011 7:43PM

publicly traded sociopathic entities and the whores who do their bidding is what I see here

Dec 27, 2011 8:23PM
The only company that would be worth saving is Sears but they need to change and give Kmart to Target to be re-branded, then stick to the sears brand but bring back great service and merchandise while charging more but not the china junk they are selling as top of the line.

Sears could win by making there logo "Everything Here Made in America"

This would also put Target in a better position to take on Walmart and since Target has always had better prices then Walmart (last two years they where proven to have better prices on the same quality products) and put them into position to win.
Dec 27, 2011 9:02PM

Take a look at CEO Jeff Patterson of Prime Group Realty Trust. He ignored the overwhelming vote of preferred shareholders, against a merger with Five Mile Capital Partners,  the only outstanding shares,  and issued new shares which were sold to Five Mile Capital Partners.  He and the trustees and directors have not missed an opportunity to steal from the preferred shareholders.

He has destroyed $100,000,000 and is pleased to tell shareholders they should accept $5.25 for shares with a liquidation preference of $25 and $6.75 dividend arrearages.  Limited information is available because he delisted teh company from NYSE and deregistered it from SEC. ,Meanwhile, he set aside money in a "secular" account to pay himself and his minions bonuses and salaries. He also paid the lawyers, Winston and Strawn, for  five years in advance.

He is one of the worst CEOs.

Dec 27, 2011 8:10PM
Smile Maybe the stockholders that elected the BOD are just as guilty as the BOD that hired the officers. Everybody complains about Microsoft's Steve Ballmer but I bet without Bill Gate's 600 million votes he wouldn't be CEO. 
Dec 27, 2011 8:43PM
Sears Holdings really caused their own demise when they retained the K-Mart CEO (a failing company CEO at that time and still is now) and got rid of the Sears CEO (a prosperous company CEO at that time). A CEO that can't get a smaller failing company (K-Mart) going in the right direction and the Boards of Directors should have known that a failing CEO can't make a go with a larger company when the two companies are combined into one company. It seems as that was a bad decision on both of the company Boards of Directors when Sears and K-Mart merged into their present company "Sears Holdings". Sears Holdings is not focused enough on "Customer Service" and the "Satisfaction" of their customer base.
Dec 27, 2011 7:47PM
I agree Brian Dunn must go.  Since 2008 I've not been able to get my rewards certificates online.  A message keeps popping up about technical; difficulties on the site.  Phone attempts are even more futile and when you do get through they admit to the long standing issue.  Yet they don't fix it and Dunn keeps answering the phone greeting you to Best Buy. 
Dec 27, 2011 7:17PM

These CEO's, absolutely need to be fired! Today's CEO's just don't get it period. Their in their position of power to reap all the benefits they can for themselves and help tank their company's further down the sewer pipelines of America. It's evident that they don't give a crap about anyone but themselves. I've always said that for a person to become a millionaire, they have to be an **** first.


Only later in life, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, were they actually nice people. It's not rocket science of operating a company, managing your personnel, and finding ways to cut money to make your company hopefully profitable. Like Lewis Black, the stand-up comedian once said on one of his videos, "math is really really hard. we tried, but your all screwed."

Dec 27, 2011 8:49PM
I'm not sure a CEO should go merely because of stock price performance. Strategic managment requires long-term commitments and goals, say 5 to 15 years. How else does a corporation position itself properly for the futures ahead for it? 60 day and 90 day results are expectations that have hobbled the American business psyche for too long. We need longer horizons if we are to be truly effective in the future,
Dec 27, 2011 9:26PM

When I called Lowes the other day, trying to order a Samsung washer/dryer combination, I was told: "Don't even give me the model numbers... We're back ordered on all of them and I don't know when we will have them in stock again."  Sears had it though and I purchased it from them.


Is Lowes having trouble with some of its vendors? Samsung, for instance? Why should this be?



Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
262 rated 2
480 rated 3
651 rated 4
649 rated 5
629 rated 6
616 rated 7
496 rated 8
346 rated 9
111 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.