Sirius XM's Mel Karmazin Is Steinbrenner-esque, Poll Says

Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is most like Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, according to a poll of TheStreet's readers
Author:
Publish date:

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- When New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away last week, it got us to wondering: Which legendary CEO most resembled the mercurial Steinbrenner and his notorious management style? GE's former captain Jack Welch? Sirius XM's Mel Karmazin? Some other c-suite titan?

The Boss, as he came to be known, wasn't afraid of taking risks and acting on impulse. In the first 23 years as the owner of the Yankees, he changed managers 20 times. He was suspended from baseball twice, once for making illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon's political campaign re-election committee, and another time for paying a gambler $40,000 to dig up some "dirt" on one of his players.

Steinbrenner's at times ruthless style of management may have set the bar, but he's not alone among the ranks of mercurial executives. Last week we asked readers of

TheStreet

to share their thoughts on what executive had the biggest resemblance to the Steinbrenner prototype.

Mel Karmazin, CEO of

Sirius XM

(SIRI) - Get Report

proved a clear winner, raking in almost 50% of the votes. After stints as president of several big name companies, including

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

and

Viacom

(VIA) - Get Report

, Karmazin became the CEO of the satellite radio company in 2004. He has made a name for himself through his hardnosed dealmaking style and a willingness to employ ruthless tactics to get his way.

''His leadership style is blunt as a punch in the nose,'' CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather once said.

Employees at CBS used to call him "Mad Mel" because of his relentless penny pinching.

Jack Welch wasn't far behind Karmazin with 35% of the votes. Welch became the youngest CEO of

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

in 1981, and was known for his aggressive marketing skills. He implemented the "Six Sigma" business management system in the mid-1990s, increasing company efficiency and quality.

In 2000, GE's recorded revenues reached nearly $130 billion, compared with $26.8 billion the company reported in 1980 before Welch became CEO.

Welch was nicknamed Neutron Jack for his strong and efficient leadership style, and in 1999,

Fortune

named him the "Manager of the Century."

Carol Bartz, CEO of

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

earned 10% of the votes. Bartz is famous for her notorious "bold" style and good humor.

In a recent interview, Bartz told TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington to f*** off, and in a blog post she said that readers should "look for this company's brand to kick ass again." Since she took over Yahoo shares have risen almost 20%.

General Motors

CEO Edward Whitacre received only 4% of votes.

As the president of

SBC Communication

Whitacre earned a tough reputation through his controlling and imposing takeover of

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

in 2005. Whitacre was named the CEO of General Motors in December 2009.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

CEO Tony Hayward received the least amount of votes. Only 2% of voters think that Hayward's management style resembles Steinbrenner's.

While his company's catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico has overshadowed all other aspects of Hayward's style, he was known for an up-front leadership style, accompanied by a willingness to openly criticize his own company. While he may have a big mouth, Hayward has not proven it to be very effective in achieving results.

-- Reported by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

Follow Theresa McCabe on

Twitter

and become a fan on

Facebook.

Copyright 2010 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.