Saturday, May 2, 2009

Does Your CEO Rock or Suck?

Welcome to the C Suite. Now get out!

The head of a company faces awesome responsibilities in making choices that affect the lives of millions of people related to a major company: employees, customers, and investors.

Some are very good, and some really stink.

Do they have heated arguments in B school over who was the greatest CEO ever? Are beers tipped while reminiscing about the good old days at Chrysler under Lee Iacocca?

For a long time, CEOs like Jack Welch and Steven Jobs have been partying like it's 1999. Today, CEOs like Ken Lewis at Bank of America and Bob Nardelli, soon to be known as the former CEO of Home Depot AND Chrysler are lucky to keep drawing a pay check.

Are we in a new reform era where "power to the people" decides who sits in the C suite more than ever before?

No so much.

From an article by Kevin Maney and Liz Gunnison in Conde Naste Portfolio, check out these lists of the best and worst CEOs ever.

Best 20

Henry Ford - Ford Motor Company
J.P. Morgan - J.P. Morgan & Co.
Sam Walton - Walmart
Alfred Sloan - General Motors
Lou Gerstner - IBM
John D. Rockefeller - Standard Oil
Steve Jobs - Apple
Jeff Bezos -
Andrew Carnegie - Carnegie Steel
Bill Gates - Microsoft
Michael Bloomberg - Bloomberg LP
Ray Kroc - McDonald's
Andy Grove - Intel
Walt Disney - Walt Disney Co.
Reuben Mark - Colgate-Palmolive
Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway
Katherine Graham - Washington Post Co.
Lee Iacocca - Chrysler
Herb Kelleher - Southwest Airlines
Oprah Winfrey - Harpo Productions

Worst 20

Dick Fuld - Lehman Brothers
Angelo Mozilo - Countrywide
Ken Lay - Enron
Jimmy Cayne - Bear Stearns
Bernie Ebbers - Worldcom
Al Dunlap - Sunbeam
Fred Joseph - Drexel Burnham Lambert
Jay Gould - Western Union
John Patterson - NCR
John Akers - IBM
Henry Frick - Carnegie Steel
Bob Allen - ATT
Roger Smith - GM
John Sculley - Apple
Martin Sullivan - AIG
Gerald Levin - Time Warner
Bob Nardelli - Home Depot Chrysler (to leave after bankruptcy)
Stan O'Neal - Merrill Lynch
Carly Fiorina - HP
Vikram Pandit - Citigroup

Four CEOs were considered candidates for BOTH lists:

Sandy Weill - Citigroup
Jack Welch - General Electric
Hank Greenberg - AIG
Cornelius Vanderbilt - shipping and railroad magnate

As they suggest in the article, go ahead and argue amongst yourselves!

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