Investing

America's Least Valuable CEOs

10. Anthony Petrello
> Compensation to market cap: $3,208 / $1M market cap
> Compensation: $16 million
> Market Cap: $5 billion
> Company: Nabor Industries (NYSE: NBR)

Anthony Petrello was a lawyer with the firm Baker & McKenzie from 1979 to 1991. He became CEO of Nabor, a big land rig drilling contractor, in October of last year after two decades as president. Analysts have mentioned that Nabor CEO compensation has not been in line with the company’s performance for a number of years. Corporate governance officials revolted when Petrello’s predecessor, Eugene Isenberg, was offered a $100 million comp package as he left the company. The criticism was so severe that Isenberg turned down the package early this year. Petrello, who was Isenberg’s No. 2 until his promotion, may also have a tremendously large package, especially given the company’s size. But Nabor’s financial performance has been reasonably good recently. Revenue in 2011 was $6.1 billion and net income was $244 million. In the previous year, revenue was $4.1 billion, and net income was $95 million. These figures, however, have not been anywhere near expectations as evidenced by the roughly 40% drop in Nabor’s share price over the last two years. The S&P 500, during that time has increased by 12%.

9. Richard Kramer
> Compensation to market cap: $3,530 / $1M market cap
> Compensation: $12.2 billion
> Market Cap 12/31: $3.5 billion
> Company: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: GT)

Goodyear posted improved financial results in 2011. Revenue was $22.7 billion and net income was $321 million. This compares to revenue of $18.8 billion and a net loss of $216 million in 2010. Wall Street, however, wasn’t impressed and the company’s shares underperformed the S&P 500 over the last two years. Kramer became head of the huge tire company in April 2010. He had been an accountant and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers previously. He joined Goodyear as vice president of the corporate finance division in 2000. Last year was not the only one in which Kramer might have been criticized by pay vigilantes. He made $10.1 million in 2010.

8. Gregory Cappelli
> Compensation to market cap: $3,674 / $1M market cap
> Compensation: $25.1 million
> Market Cap: $6.8 billion
> Company: Apollo Group (NASDAQ: APOL)

Education company Apollo was caught in the fallout of a government investigation into for-profit education companies which undermined its financial results recently. Most of the company’s revenue comes from its University of Phoenix operation. Apollo had 21,777 full time students as of the middle of last year. The company’s lead position in the sector helped it to grow revenue for several years, but in its most recent fiscal, revenue dropped to $4.25 billion from $4.71 billion the year before. Net income attributed to Apollo fell from $572 million to $423 million over the same period.

Apollo’s Achilles’ heel — over-reliance on government student loans — is particularly exposed. As one Morningstar analyst pointed out recently, “Regulatory concerns are high partly because of high post-graduation student debt loads. Tuition rates may be forced downward so programs can meet maximum debt/income ratios.” Investor anxiety over the effects of government regulation has pushed Apollo shares down 40% over the last two years. CEO Gregory Cappelli, however, does have a great advantage in his corner. Two board members are founder Dr. John G. Sperling, executive chairman of the board, and his son, Peter V. Sperling, vice chairman. They control the company through ownership of Class B Shares, and almost certainly have an outsized say about Cappelli’s package

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7. Rory Read
> Compensation to market cap: $4,148 / $1M market cap
> Compensation: $15.6 billion
> Market Cap: $3.8 billion
> Company: AMD (NYSE: AMD)

AMD, the No. 2 semiconductor company in the world after Intel, has been near death for years. Between price and research and development pressures from its larger competitor and a sharp drop in PCs and servers sales, AMD has almost no room to improve its financial situation. Recent rumors of a sale gave the stock a temporary lift, but when the company denied them, share price cratered. Last year, revenue ticked up to $6.6 billion from $6.5 billion the year before. Net income rose to $491 million from $471 million. With the shrinking share of PCs and the rapid growth of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, investors’ rapidly grew concerned about AMD’s future. AMD’s share price has dropped more than 70% in the last two years. Rory Read joined AMD as CEO in August 2011. He has previously worked at Chinese PC firm Lenovo as chief operating officer. His efforts to improve the fate of the company are almost certainly hopeless, but he is paid well while he waits for AMD to fall apart at the seams.

6. Kieran Gallahue
> Compensation to market cap: $4,419 / $1M market cap
> Compensation:  $25.2 million
> Market Cap: $5.7 billion
> Company: CareFusion (NYSE: CFN)

CareFusion makes and markets medical technology, including products for infection prevention, biopsies, respiratory care, and surgical supplies. It is a spin-out from huge medical supply firm Cardinal Health in August 2009. Several issues almost always turn investors against public companies. One is when they delay their SEC filings. CareFusion has yet to file its 10-K for its most recent full year results. The company says it is working on accounting charges, but has not said when the process will be complete. In the 10-K for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2011, CareFusion modest disappointing results. Revenue rose from $3.47 billion the year before to $3.53 billion. Net income rose from $194 million to $244 million. These results and those posted in subsequent quarters have been good enough so that CareFusion’s shares have matched the performance of the S&P 500 over the last two years. Kieran Gallahue became CEO in January 2011. With a pay package of $25.2 million, he is wildly well paid to run such a modest sized company.