Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 7 a.m. on
on Sept. 8, as part of the NFL Kickoff Open House. Sign up for a free trial of Real Money.
Enough. Let's just call 'em out already. I'm talking about the serial disappointers, the companies that just can't seem to deliver no matter what happens. I think we just need to out them right here. I am taking this Open House weekend to do what I have wanted to do for months now -- just vent my spleen on these underperformers that have hurt so many portfolios, and whose management teams seem to have no knowledge of how poorly run their enterprises really are.
Here are 10 companies run by people who actually think they are doing a good job. They aren't, of course, and they need to be put on notice that they are just members of a gang that couldn't shoot straight. I am putting them in alphabetical order because they've all been, at one time or another, super discouraging stocks to own. We all know that about these companies.
This is a list of losers that, in sports, would be considered a no-brainer to assemble. They're just a bunch of crummy teams that never seem to deliver, filled with players you would never draft if there were a corporate fantasy league. In sports, these guys would be called out so often that they would be human highlight films for disappointment.
In our business, though, the teams compensate their managers outrageously, and no one ever says boo about them. Maybe everyone just belongs to the same club and they don't want to be uncomfortable when they drink their gin and tonics with this mob? Or maybe people just don't care.
Here are the first five.
1. How does Mike Jeffries still have a job? How in heaven's name, after that quarter from hell, does
Abercrombie & Fitch
(ANF - Get Report)
continue to let this guy (how close did I come to writing "clown!") keep running the place? Does it have to be run into the ground before the board figures out how horrendous this man is at his job? Is he just such a nice guy at home that people feel bad for him and they don't want to hurt his feelings? Do they think there's nothing unusual with a company that misses its projections by 50%? Do they like the pornographic advertisements he's come up with and are they afraid that they will lose the "edge" if he goes? Do they have to pay him a fortune contractually if they fire him? If I were Mikey, I would quit to do charity work and penance for what I'd done. Then I would give him an