Special Report

America's Most Hated CEOs

10. Louis Welch
> CEO approval rating: 33%
> Company: LA Fitness
> Glassdoor company rating: 2.6 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 31 years

Founded by current CEO Louis Welch in 1984, LA Fitness has since become the largest health club in the United States by revenue. Despite the company’s financial success, Welch is relatively unpopular among his employees. Only 33% of employees reviewing LA Fitness on Glassdoor reported they approve of Welch, one of the lowest approval ratings of any CEO. Low pay, long hours, and inadequate training are among the least favorable reviews from employees. In general, the corporate office seems to be out of touch, and many employees do not feel they are treated with respect. One Glassdoor reviewer warned upper management: “You are going to lose lots and lots of good people if you do not change your ways.”

9. Jane Elfers
> CEO approval rating: 31%
> Company: The Children’s Place
> Glassdoor company rating: 2.6 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 7 years

Jane Elfers has been at the helm of The Children’s Place since January 2010. Since then, the company’s stock has soared by approximately 157%. While she may be making shareholders happy, her employees are another story. Only 31% of current and former employees who reviewed the company on Glassdoor said they approve of Elfers.

Negative employee reviews may be the result of massive layoffs. Elfers is in the midst of carrying out her plan to close roughly 200 underperforming stores between fiscals 2013 and 2017 in an effort to increase the company’s profit margin. Meanwhile, Elfers was compensated $9.8 million in 2015, up substantially from $7.4 million in 2014 and $6.8 million in 2013.

8. Bill Brown
> CEO approval rating: 30%
> Company: Harris Corporation
> Glassdoor company rating: 3.0 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 5 years

William Brown, who has been at the helm of aerospace and defense contractor Harris for nearly five years, is one of the least liked CEOs of any major company. Many employee reviews attribute the declining morale and a burgeoning culture of distrust to Brown, speculating that his chief concerns — the company’s profits and shareholders — often come at the expense of employees.

By that measure he has been successful so far. Now trading at over $90 a share, Harris stock has gained by well over 150% in value from the time Brown took over in November 2011. Brown has managed to increase the value of his company in the eyes of shareholders. However, many current and former Harris employees allege that Brown is cutting costs by getting rid of more experienced and more expensive engineers in favor of younger engineers with less experience.

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