The Worst CEOs of 2016

Print Email

spirit

5. Ben Baldanza
> Company: Spirit Airlines Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVE)
> 3-yr stock price change: 27.30%
> CEO tenure: May 2006 – January 2016

Over the course of his career as CEO of Spirit Airlines, Ben Baldanza took a little known company and — by providing little in the way of comfort or customer service — offered cut rate airfare and poached business from industry giants. Recently however, other major airlines have fought back, offering fares that closely match Spirit’s with better customer service and fewer additional fees. Baldanza’s abrupt January exodus may be tied to his association with the company’s reputation for poor customer service.

Spirit is now headed by former company director, Robert Fornaro. Since Fornaro took the top job, Spirit’s shares have climbed by more than 40%.

staples

6. Ron Sargent
> Company: Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS)
> 3-yr stock price change: -43.08%
> CEO tenure: February 2002 – June 2016

Office supply company Staples announced earlier this year CEO Ron Sargent would be stepping down after holding the top job for 14 years. Sargent’s departure from the company came on the heels of a failed $6.3 billion merger he helped orchestrate with competitor Office Depot. Regulators killed the merger on the grounds that it would violate antitrust laws.

Currently, Staples president Shira Goodman is acting as CEO while a special committee reviews more permanent candidates for the job.

Michael Pearson

7. J. Michael Pearson
> Company: Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX)
> 3-yr stock price change: -88.02%
> CEO tenure: February 2008 – May 2016

Michael Pearson is the former CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., a company now under investigation for fraud. When an alleged major kickback scheme between Valeant and Pennsylvania-based specialty pharmacy company Philidor Rx Services was discovered in late 2015, the company’s stock price, which has been skyrocketing since 2010, quickly did an about face. The stock continued its downward trajectory in 2016, plummeting nearly 90% year-to-date. Pearson left the company in May, but he and the company remain under multiple federal investigations, not just for the Philidor scandal, but also with regards to the company’s charitable giving practices and its billing of national health insurance exchanges.

philippe_dauman_d5_cropped

8. Philippe Dauman
> Company: Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIAB)
> 3-yr stock price change: -59.16%
> CEO tenure: September 2006 – August 2016

Media giant Viacom has struggled in recent years as Paramount has suffered at the box office and streaming services have increasingly taken a chunk of the market. The company’s net income declined from $2.40 billion in fiscal 2013 to $1.44 billion in fiscal 2016. In May 2016, Long-time executive and CEO Philippe Dauman entered into a power struggle with majority owner, media mogul Sumner Redstone, for control of the company. Not only has Dauman not managed to achieve his goal through an expensive lawsuit, but also he eventually agreed to leave the company. Throughout this, Viacom’s operations continued to suffer as management and resources were tied up in the legal battle. Some ratings agencies have noted they are considering downgrading Viacom’s debt to junk status. Dauman, however, has received a $72 million severance package.