America's Most Hated CEOs
7. Paul Jones
> CEO approval rating: 30%
> Company: Payless ShoeSource
> Glassdoor company rating: 2.6 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 4 years
A private company owned by two holding companies, Payless Shoesource employs some 25,000 people worldwide. CEO Paul Jones joined the company in 2012. Today, after roughly four years, he has made a name for himself as one of the least liked CEOs in the country. Only 30% of current and former employees approve of Jones on Glassdoor, a smaller share than all but six CEOs of major companies. Low pay, long hours, and unrealistic expectations are some of the most common reviews reported by dissatisfied employees.
6. Do Won Chang
> CEO approval rating: 30%
> Company: Forever 21
> Glassdoor company rating: 2.5 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 32 years
Since Do Won Chang founded Forever 21 in 1984, the company has been the subject of numerous controversies regarding the treatment of its employees. In 2012, five former employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming that they were routinely detained during lunch breaks and after their shifts without overtime pay so that managers could search their bags for stolen merchandise — part of the company’s former loss prevention policy.
More recently, Forever 21 cut to part-time the hours of a number of full-time employees. With a maximum workweek of 29.5 hours, newly part-time workers no longer qualify for health care under the Affordable Care Act, which ensures health care to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. Such cost-cutting measures likely did little to improve Chang’s low approval rating.
5. Gregory Q. Brown
> CEO approval rating: 29%
> Company: Motorola Solutions
> Glassdoor company rating: 3.1 / 5.0
> Tenure as CEO: 9 years
Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown was compensated $13.3 million in 2015, up 67% from the year before — even as the company’s profits fell from $1.3 billion to $613 million. Meanwhile, many employees on Glassdoor complain about low pay and the disparity in incomes between upper management and lower level positions. Brown’s increased compensation was due to a long-term incentive plan tied to the company’s stock price, which Brown helped inflate through massive share buybacks. The buybacks helped raise the stock price even as profit fell as fewer shares on the market meant higher value per share.
Buybacks can hinder long-term growth as profits are not used for reinvestment in the company, but rather to increase shareholder value. Motorola Solution employees seem to feel the same. According to one review on Glassdoor, the senior management at Motorola Solutions is “only interested in shareholders, not employees or company growth.” Just 29% of employees on Glassdoor approve of Brown, one of the lowest approval ratings of any CEO.