Every year this time I take nominations for the year's worst corporate CEO. I like to seek names from readers because, quite frankly, it helps spot names a screening process might miss. Not to mention that readers usually remember more than I do!
Usually, there is no lack of choices and my email and social media feeds light up with names.
But this year -- the various calls have been met mostly with, well, little in the way of new names.
Is that because there are fewer bad CEOs? Nah. It's simpler than that: We're in a momentum-driven bull market, silly, and rising stock prices hide all sins.
On one hand that makes it easier to spot the real losers, where even in a market like this investors are unforgiving. One of the most obvious, along those lines, appears to be longtime CEO Michael Jeffries at Abercrombie & Fitch, whose employment contract (albeit with tougher benchmarks) has been extended for another year. (Has he really become that bad, or is he just a victim of what happens to all fashion retailers at one point or another?)
Or Caterpillar (CAT) CEO Doug Oberhelman, who has presided over one quarterly flop after another. (Is he really just the victim of bad timing and bad luck or bad execution?)
What about McDonald's (MCD) CEO Donald Thompson? (Did he just land the job at a classic juncture of McDonald's maturity? Could anybody else have done better?)