Sears’ Edward Lampert Is the Most Hated CEO in America

November 6, 2016 by Evan Comen

Two-thirds of all employees approve of their CEO, according to employee review website Glassdoor. However, not all CEOs are regarded so well, and some are rated quite poorly.

To identify the most hated CEOs, 24/7 Wall St. compiled CEO ratings and employee satisfaction reviews from Glassdoor — this is not a Glassdoor commissioned report. Eddie Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings, is the worst rated CEO.

Click here to see the full list of America’s most hated CEOs.

Sears Holdings controls Sears and Kmart, two of the nation’s largest department stores. Only 23% of Kmart employees and 19% of Sears employees approve of Lampert, according to reviews on Glassdoor. Many complaints center around layoffs and stagnant wages, likely attributable to falling sales at the stores. The company’s revenue has declined substantially in recent years, from $36.2 billion in fiscal 2013 to $25.1 billion in fiscal 2015.

Lampert is likely unpopular with company shareholders too. Over the past three years, under his watch, the company’s stock price has plummeted by more than 80%.

Workers often complain in Glassdoor reviews about the out-of-touch upper management. One employee from the company’s headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, wrote: “Corporate employees are in deep denial about how bad things are and seem content to get a check and babble on about ‘transformation’.” Critics of Lampert have also chided the CEO for promising “transformation”, while by most financial measures, the company has consistently showed signs of continued decline.

Lampert has received a base salary of $1.00 in each of the past three years. Still, his total annual compensation, which comes mostly from stock awards, has been at least $4 million since 2013, peaking at $5.7 million in fiscal 2014.

The leader of one of America’s most iconic brands, Lampert is largely held accountable for being unable to stop Sears’ decline since he assumed the role of chairman in 2004 and CEO in 2013. Sears Holdings has closed or sold more than 850 Sears and Kmart locations since Lampert became CEO and has announced dozens of additional closings so far this year. The company has also slimmed its U.S. workforce by roughly 50,000 employees over the same period.

As the company’s majority shareholder, Lampert can remove himself from the role of CEO. Some finance columnists have called for his removal since 2012. Earlier this year, however, the company announced Lampert will stay on as CEO through at least 2018.

Want to read more? Click here to see the full list of the 10 most hated CEOs.