Top 10 Crappiest CEOs (According To Their Employees)

Glassdoor released its report of the 50 lowest-rated CEOs as determined by employee reviews on its site. I scractched out all the companies you don’t care about and ended up with this list of the 10 Crappiest CEOs (of consumer-facing compaines) (according to their employees)…

Rank – Company – CEO – approval rating

10. US Postal Service – Jack Potter – 21%
9. Sun Microsystems – Jonathan I. Schwartz – 21%
8. eBay – John J. Donahoe – 20%
7. Convergys (a horrible call center company) – Dave Dougherty – 19%
6. Pfizer – Jeff Kindler – 19%
5. Sears Holdings – W. Bruce Johnson – 19%
4. RadioShack – Julian C. Day – 16%
3. Sports Authority – Doug Morton – 12%
2. United Airlines – Glenn F. Tilton 8%
1. Office Depot – Steve Odland – 7%

Does this jibe with your experience? Who you would you nominate as the worst CEO?

Glassdoor Q3 CEO Watch List Report [GlassDoor] (Photo: Epiclectic)

* only CEOs with 50 or more reviews were included.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Darkwish says:

    I’m surprised my CEO did that well.

  2. Posthaus says:

    Postmaster General Jack Potter’s hatred by postal employees is well deserved.

    • Nidoking says:

      @Posthaus: Don’t all CEOs run companies where employees are regularly locked in closets with nothing to do, claiming that it’s in their contracts?

    • tbax929 says:

      Is that why the employees always “Go Postal”?

    • TheObserver says:

      @Posthaus: Pray do tell all the details, this has piqued my interest. I hardly ever hear anything about the postal service and the postmaster general, only about stamp rate increases.

      • tingeyga says:

        @TheObserver: There are a lot of employees that aren’t happy about some of the cost saving measures that have been undertaken in the past couple of years.

    • stormbird says:

      @Posthaus: I Can Haz Details?

      Holy crap, I just wrote a post in LOLspeak. Backing away from the computer in 3,2,1….

    • Archangelo says:

      @Posthaus: I met Jack Potter once. He is a glorified LSM operator with 1) a penchant for ingesting huge portions of starch and 2) an ever-expanding waistline. They have a joke in the USPS: “What does ‘PMG’ stand for? ‘Potter Must Go.'”

  3. defectiveburger says:

    fully agree with “the shack.” when i worked there, there was no sense of leadership or organization at the top, which floods down to the store level. it’s just all wrong.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @defectiveburger: ditto. they have coporate ADD in fort worth – it seems like every 3-6 months they blow all kinds of money on some kind of new marketing/training/sales gimmick.

      i finally had enough when they decided that the financial burden for all the corporate shenanigans was going to rest squarely on the heads of associates & store managers. i took a 40% pay cut at the same time they were paying their fraud CEO $1.2 million to leave after 9 months worth of work b/c he lied about his education & multiple DWI charges.

      & that was 3 years ago. from what i’ve heard, it’s gotten worse.

    • Omir The Storyteller says:

      @defectiveburger: Dude, it’s been going downhill ever since Charles Tandy died. I started work at RS just before he passed away and though I never get to meet him, my manager and a couple of the people who had worked for him did. He regularly called his managers to see how things were going. (In fact one guy who worked at my store before I started there picked up the phone and the voice on the other end asked to speak to the manager. “Who’s calling?” he asked. “It’s Charles Tandy.” said the voice. Thinking this was a prank, the guy asked, “Charles Tandy who?” Not only did he not get fired, he ended up running his own store. :) ) He seemed to really care about his stores and his chain. But I guess that was another time, another place and another type of CEO.

  4. milkcake says:

    Steve Odland!!! Hahahaha, that perfectly makes sense to me. He is a friend of Sean Rice from Hudson River Group, who was my previous job’s CEO. WORST CEO EVER. He used to harass employees by telling them, “this is what your parents paid your college education for”. And while he makes his employees carry personal items like wine to his car, he used to say “those wines cost more than your salary.” Probably didn’t make his name next to Steve Odland because HRG has less than 50 employees. Two POS CEOs are friends together. Makes sense!!!

    • varro says:

      @milkcake: HRG must be run by GOB. “Yeah, the guy wearing the $4,000 suit is [going to pick up wine] for the guy who doesn’t make that in four months. Come on.”

      • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

        @varro: I take offense; I wear nothing less than $5,000 suits now. But yeah, like the guy in the $6,000 suit is going to care what the internet thinks of him? Come on!

    • madog says:

      @milkcake: I would have accidentally tripped and broken all of the bottles, and gotten so scared that I would have taken a dump on whatever was left and then proceed to nervously wipe my ass with his tie only to forcefully shake his hand with my dirty hand to thank him for future employment recomendations.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @madog: that sir, is an inexcusable waste of good wine!

        instead, might i recommend guzzling his wine, pissing in the empty bottles, replacing the cork & sending him home to an interesting nite with his mistress.

        • theblackdog says:

          @mac-phisto: Before he leaves though, stinkpalm him!

          “Say, would you like a chocolate covered pretzel? They’re a little melty from being in my pocket, but they’re oh so good”

    • TechnoDestructo says:


      Jesus christ, I think that’s time to smash one of the bottles and cut the fucker with it.

  5. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    I’m surprised eBay is that high up. I was expecting it to be at least in the top 5 worst.

  6. Eldritch says:

    The new Borders CEO is pretty awful too, but perhaps too new to make the list

  7. dohtem says:

    Except for Ebay and Sun, they are all stores where people go for part time jobs.

    Amazingly, Wall Street is absent from the list.

    • redskull says:

      @dohtem: Really, the post office and Pfizer offer part time jobs?

    • nakkypoo says:

      @dohtem: You may have missed this sentence since you only scanned the list.

      I scractched out all the companies you don’t care about and ended up with this list of the 10 Crappiest CEOs (of consumer-facing compaines) (according to their employees)…

      Wall Street isn’t exactly consumer facing (and most people don’t care how crappy those CEOs are), so those CEOs were likely excluded. And I doubt United directly employs many part-timers.

    • nakkypoo says:

      @dohtem: It’s also worth noting that Glassdoor requires proof of past or present employment before they will consider certain bits of information. I’m assuming CEO ratings require a high level position in the company, IE you have to be qualified to rate that CEO. Even if it doesn’t, it’s unlikely the high school drop-outs that The Shack and Office Depot employ for two weeks at a time are rating CEOs on Glassdoor.

    • Megalomania says:

      @dohtem: with the ‘wall street’ companies we love to hate, it’s not just the CEO who makes an obscene amount of money. Capital-b Billions in bonuses; that’s a lot of happy campers and not just the man sitting at the top with the biggest bag of loot.

  8. Rask says:

    I used to work for Convergys years ago. I don’t miss that place at all. Shit hole of the highest order.

    • Betsumei says:

      @Rask: Seconded!

    • tbax929 says:

      Thirded. I worked there while I was in college. Shit hole is offensive to shit holes. That place was horrible.

      • drunkenwildmage says:

        @tbax929 is rooting for a Phillies repeat:
        fourthed… if that place was a “shithole” it would’ve been an improvement to it….Loved the random firings.. You would be talking to the person in the cube next to you between calls, then a supervisor would walk up to them and say ‘come with me and grab your stuff’. That was the last you every saw of them…

        Only place I saw over 50 Employees quit in a day and over a 100 in a week.

    • econobiker says:

      @Rask: I just heard some groovy Convergys stories over the weekend and yours echo what I heard from a family of former workers…

  9. slopirate says:

    You don’t consider Rain Bird or Xilinx consumer-facing companies?

  10. rocketbear79 says:

    When this came across my RSS feed I first thought it said “creepiest” CEOs.
    From talking to all the people that I know who work for USPS I’m actually surprised about Jack(ass) Potter not being in the top 5.

  11. StanTheManDean says:

    Wow. I didn’t make the list.

  12. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    From what I can tell, all of those CEO’s (and most of the ones in the big meltdown last year) are late-aged Caucasian men. Maybe us white guys aren’t the best candidates for the job?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being racist at all. I’m just saying that some people are better at some jobs than others – most golfers are white, most basketball players are black, etc.

    • SabreDC says:

      @Ursus Maritimus: But how many late-aged Caucasian men were evaluated and did not make the list of the crappiest? If 10,000 CEOs were reviewed and 4,500 were late-aged white men and 10 were voted the worst… well then maybe the 4,400 late-aged white men who their employees enjoyed working for ARE the best candidates for their jobs.

      “I’m not being racist at all… I just bring race into conversations that have nothing to do with them.”

    • takotchi says:

      @Ursus Maritimus: Maybe they need wise Latina CEOs.

      • dohtem says:

        @takotchi: And CNN’s Lou Dobbs can spew his thinly veiled racist comments.

        • Aquasol says:

          @dohtem: Why, Lou Dobbs isn’t racist! It just magically happens to be that Mexicans/Mexican-Americans are the sole cause of everything in America that has ever gone wrong!

          • uber_mensch says:


            Ok.. for the last damn time, Lou Dobbs is married to a mexican, Debi Lee Segura. Now will all of you racists bastards shut up?

          • Powerlurker says:


            Mexican isn’t a race, it’s a nationality. Mexicans can be of any race from lily white to black as coal, they can even be Asian.

            • VagrantRadio says:

              @Powerlurker: You do realize that because I’m obviously white and from America and if I said “I’m Puerto Rican” when questioned about my nationality, it might sound a bit off, right?

              • Powerlurker says:


                As far as the US census bureau is concerned, Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race. Therefore, you can’t be racist towards Hispanics or Mexicans. You can, however, be xenophobic towards them. If you’re Puerto Rican, you’re Puerto Rican (and Hispanic) regardless of the color of your skin. A friend of mine from college had a Mexican mother, a Germanic last name, and was even more pasty white than me, and as far as the US Government and the university admissions people were concerned, he was Hispanic.

        • uber_mensch says:


          Perhaps you are unaware that Lou Dobbs is married to a mexican… Debi Lee Segura.

    • DadsterNC says:

      @Ursus Maritimus: Two words: Tiger Woods.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      There are a heck of a lot of jokes going undetected in this thread.

    • Moonshadow101 says:

      @Ursus Maritimus: They also all happen to have feet.

      Obviously, mandatory amputations would increase CEO quality.

    • econobiker says:

      @Ursus Maritimus: Just as long as you both know quotes from the movie “Caddyshack” by heart, and belong to several country clubs with yearly membership fees of +$10,000 you’re usually in as a CEO…

  13. njtrout says:

    How in the world did Sam Palmisano at IBM not make the list? May we should wait for the results of the insider trading investigation to be finished and results will change.

    • floraposte says:

      @njtrout: It’s an employee nomination. If he insider trades but isn’t a jackass to them they probably aren’t bitching about him much.

    • Sneeje says:

      @njtrout: He may be a douchebag, but IBM clearly has a strategy and manages shareholder value very closely. Spent a good half of my career there before deciding to remain a shareholder and stop being an employee, thereby gaining all of the benefits of one with none of the excruciating pain of the other.

    • FrankReality says:

      He should be on the list. He has been to unable to grow revenue except through acquisition. The only way IBM has been cranking on profits is by an anorexic focus on cutting costs.

      IBM is now the largest offshorer of American jobs, meanwhile the survivors have to work hardware and harder for flatlined pay. IBM once had 270,000 jobs in the US, it’s now down to 100,000 and heading on its way to 30,000 – 5,000 jobs a quarter.

      It’s a second-rate company run by third-rate psychopaths.
      We lost one last week, due to his arrest for insider trading. People cheered on the news. Maybe more to come?

      You do not want anyone to work there except perhaps your worst enemy.

  14. jpdanzig says:

    This proves again that there’s a direct relationship between crappy management and a crappy company.

    Most of the companies the CEOs listed above manage have frequently been cited here at the consumerist and elsewhere for their shameful misdeeds and shortcomings…

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      @jpdanzig: Absolutely. And if you look at the list of highest rated CEOs it shows a similar correlation.

      • floraposte says:

        @ExtraCelestial: Really? Goldman Sachs is an excellently run company? I’m thinking not so much.

        • ExtraCelestial says:


          Well I’m definitely not going to DEFEND them (especially not as a top 10 position), but as far as the way they treat their employees, and the turnaround they’ve been having as of late, for the industry he’s in (which is basically synonymous with corporate misconduct) he’s not half bad. Certainly better than his peers.

          • floraposte says:

            @ExtraCelestial: I don’t see any reason to doubt that–I’m just disagreeing with the notion that companies who are scoring high on CEO approval are also necessarily the better companies for consumers. I’d like to think it reliably correlated, but not always.

            • johnva says:

              @floraposte: I’m guessing the correlation is stronger on the low end. If you treat your employees like dirt, you’re probably more likely to treat your customers badly. On the other hand, you might treat your employees well, while treating your customers badly.

  15. Taed says:

    In the post above, Ben means “jibe” (an informal word meaning agreement), not “gibe” (a small joke or insult).

    I point this out because until recently, I’d been using “jive” (a style of music or deceptive/glib talk) in place of “jibe”. And now that I’ve seen the error of my ways, I’ve noticed others using “jive” instead of “jibe” as well (so it wasn’t just me).

    One of my co-worker gets all those picky things wrong: ensure/insure, “mute point”, and the my favorite(since it has two errors) “the gambit from A to B”.

    (I’m not normally picky, by the way.)

  16. zekedms says:

    Hollywood Video has had a nice rotation of crappy CEOs who buy up a majority share, inflate the stock with terrible short-term gain policies that lose all the regular customers, sell them, and the CFO scoops up the majority share after it crashes.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    Thanks, CJ Gabe Gabriel.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      @zekedms: I didn’t realize Hollywood Video was still in business?!

      • zekedms says:

        @ExtraCelestial: Says it all, doesn’t it?

        Lots of HWV/MovieGallery stores closed, mostly they’re keeping the ones that are cheapest on rent and running costs. But they keep putting new suicidal plans out. Take away rainchecks again, kill early return credits again, introduce Powerplay which can’t even remotely compete with Netflix, let alone Blockbuster.

        But for a month or two, the profit really looked good and stock went up for Sheriff, the new CEO. It won’t be long before he sells it off, and the cycle begins anew.

    • econobiker says:

      @zekedms: And to think I was very happy to see a Hollywood Nail Salon and LA Tanning Salon actually in Hollywood and in Los Angeles when I visited.

      But I missed the Hollywood Video location there…

  17. CompyPaq says:

    Hmm. For some reason, the companies with crappy CEOs also seem to correlate with companies with crappy service.

  18. Nytmare says:

    Something called “Corporate Executive Board” is #15 crappiest. What a funny name for a company. I wonder what they do (Wikipedia was no help on this one.)

    • mdr says:

      @Nytmare: But Google worked. Basically they’re either an executive level consultant firm, or a buzzword factory. Not that there’s much difference.

  19. ExtraCelestial says:

    I scractched out all the companies you don’t care about

    Well now of course I have to look at the whole list.

  20. Ratty says:

    No Dov Charney of American Apparel?

  21. bobsyouruncle says:

    I know that I’m being that guy, but gibe, jibe, and jive are all different words.

    Gibe: to taunt
    Jibe: to be in harmony or accord; agree (this is the meaning intended here)
    Jive: the “shuck and jive” and “jive talk” definitions are the only ones recognized by

    Currently, jive is getting pretty widely use as a synonym for jibe, but it’s not really correct.

    Just sayin’.

    And Office 2007 has made me swear much more than any of the products/services offered by any of these companies listed here. I’d even go so far as to say that the USPS, though their counter service can suck, does a great job.

  22. downwithmonstercable says:

    I’m surprised ebay is on there. I figured they’d have replaced Meg Whitman with an equal caliber leader after she brought ebay up and dominated everything.

    I’m surprised there weren’t more retail chains in there. We HATED our CEO at Albertson’s when I worked there in college. He was one of Jack Welch’s protege-fails.

  23. pirikapirilala says:

    The fact that Mark Shapiro is not on the list is incredibly surprising. He’s the CEO of Six Flags, and in the 4 years that he’s headed operations at corporate, that same number of rides have been taken from my home park (Great America). That plus the merciless advertising and shoddy maintenance and upkeep, and this guy translates into terrible parks.

  24. jrwn says:

    My old job was at PayPal, ie Ebay, I’d have to agree. Being on the front lines of the phones, I’d get to hear the whole: our customers hear you as the voice of the company, as an unrelated item, you can’t work disputes for customers or call the merchant anymore.

    Glad to be gone

  25. incident_man says:

    I’m surprised that Mikey Dell isn’t in the top 10, with all DHell’s layoffs and their obsession with cutting costs as much as possible, except when it comes to executive compensation.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      It doesn’t work at our company. If you negatively rate management, they come hunt your ass down even though ‘all responses are anonymous’…

  26. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    How did Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods not make the list?
    Not only is she outsourcing thousands of jobs to India & the Philippines, but she has raised the price of Kraft products.
    All the employees in the Chicago area, where many of Kraft’s jobs are, hate her.

  27. detoth67 says:

    I’m shocked that Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s CEO isn’t on there. The moves he’s made makes me think he’s a plant by Wal-Mart to destroy Target.

    Some of the things make me scratch my head and wonder if he ever set foot in a business school

  28. H3ion says:


  29. GIClutch says:

    I have to agree about Convergys. The call center I was at in Toledo, OH was closed down many years ago. We were the last call center left in the US (rest in Canada) doing former AT&T broadband, now Comcast tech support. We had the best scores on quality, least repeat calls, etc., but they didn’t care. Gotta love an Ohio company laying off entire centers in their home state to move ’em to Canada!

    • cluberti says:

      @GIClutch: The term, I believe, is “lower cost labor market”. You could be a support god, and it won’t matter. That guy in makes $350 USD a month, and you don’t. Until the move costs them enough customers to affect the bottom line (and it won’t, if history is any indication), you’re a cost center, and outsourcing your job to someone who can’t do it but is cheap is just as good for the bottom line as it was having you do the job well.

      Convergys has pretty much outsourced all of their Canadian call centers to India now as well – I think the moves they made a few years ago shipping things to Canada was simply a layover for the business as it ramped up it’s operations in places like Delhi, Pune, etc.

      Welcome to running a support business, where how good you are at your job doesn’t matter a hill of beans if someone can do it (poorly, not at all, it doesn’t matter) for a fraction of the cost.

  30. VA_White says:

    I worked for one of the companies you scratched out. It deserved to be in the top ten. I think I have PTSD from working there.

  31. wvFrugan says:

    How can we get the pope on that list as CEO of the catholic church. Lots of hate, skeletons, ruined lives, and whatnot there.

  32. Aisley says:

    Everybody that works gets a performance review of one type or the other, right? Well, in HR there’s a very lovely type of performance review called “the 360 performance review”. This is the one we desperately need to use in banks, investment firms, credit card companies and mortgage companies. What is so “lovely” about this type of review you ask? Well this is the type of review where the employee gets his/her performance reviewed by superiors, peers and, more special, subordinates. Oh, believe you me, it works and works beautifully!

  33. ARP says:

    The thing is that once, they destroy one company and collect their parachute, another company will pick them up and pay them even more to do the same.

    I keep offering my services to destroy a company, but no takers. I’ll even do it for 1/10 of what most CEO’s make, a measely $1,000,000 per year for 5 years and a $1,000,000 parachute.

  34. night_2004 says:

    Definitely glad that Office Depot seems to have made the top of the list. The store near to where my grandmother lives has “awesome” customer service. Purchased a chair that had a three year warranty, broke after a year (metal welding just broke on the base). Exchanged it for a new one, and the new one was actually another customer return that had a broken arm. Exchange that one again, and the arm of that chair broke within a month (same break as the first exchange unit no less). I politely asked them for a refund, and the manager tried to claim that the chair was a much cheaper model than the one I had purchased. After showing them a receipt that it was a $200+ chair, the manager returned my money. They were even nice enough to ask me to consider shopping elsewhere in the future.

    The store near my undergraduate college had crappy customer service as well. My wife and I only shopped there for binders.

    Now, having moved to go to graduate school…the Office Depot here sucks as well. I experienced their “excellent” customer service when trying to buy a desk with an Office Depot coupon. First the manager accused me of hacking their website and that there was no coupon, and then would not sell it to me with the coupon discount. The desk was really nice for the money, so I went ahead and bought it through the online store and they had to eat the cost of shipping it too. Stupid move Office Depot, as I was willing to spare you the cost of shipping and hauled it home myself if they applied the coupon in store.

    Within a month, I found out the desk had some serious stability and build quality issues. Parts had not been manufactured right, and Office Depot even acknowledged there had been a lot of returns and repairs of the same desk. Fast forward a week, and the tempered glass shatters.

    The manager who handled my return (the same one that accused me of hacking the website) handled the return very well. Originally told me that glass does not break like that, that I had to have broken it myself. After I told her about the complaints I found online, and again told her how the desk broke (I imagine she was trying to test me to see if I was lying)…I told her that I was expecting Office Depot to make this right and this was their last chance to do so. I’d already been told that Office Depot was considering a recall of the desk and reminded the manager that I knew about that.

    Refund was processed five minutes later. One minute after that I was out of the store and do not plan to return to any Office Depot unless I have no choice.

  35. Steven Francis says:

    Its obvious as these companies have a bad impression among people. So the CEO’s cannot be very much effective. Anyway thanks for the analysis..

  36. cymph says:

    Office Depot FTW! As a former employee I can honestly say the customer service and knowledge were much higher before Steve Odland came around. Staffing hours were higher meaning an all around better experience for both staff and customers, but alas as we all know payroll must be slash, slash, slashed to increase baster… err, shareholder value. Eff the Customer and bring on the profit! How Bob Nardelli of you, Steve, this is one award you have certainly earned.

  37. jamar0303 says:

    UA’s CEO made the list. Somehow I’m not surprised.

  38. threnn says:

    Huh. I guess they polled people working in RadioShack stores, not the corporate office. I think Julian’s doing a fine job.

  39. SoCalGNX says:

    Bill Gates. The MSN type operating systems leave users vulnerable to viruses and other nasty things and this has been going on since it started.

  40. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Am I the only one who can’t see the full list of 50? I only see 25 when I follow the link.

  41. LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

    I worked for an ad agency in not too far from UNC-Chapel Hill. It was run by a husband and wife team and BOTH of them were psychotic. I mean, needs daily meds psychotic. It’s one of two places that I’ve worked where the employees would’ve happily pushed one or both of the loonies running the asylum out in front of a bus. Or off the top of the office building we worked at. Currently, the two lunatics are trying to save their sinking business; those of us who are former employees are praying that it goes down in a flaming ball of mediocrity.

  42. nsv says:

    If Bob Nardelli hadn’t left Home Depot, I’d have to nominate him for #0.

  43. Microxot says:

    If Experian was larger, I think Chris Callero could get in the top 50. He lays off competent high skilled workers so he can send the jobs to South America. During a town hall meeting he assure that it’s only the low skilled jobs that moved. When people complain that they can’t understand their new coworkers, they are told to shut up or they’d be fired. Yeah, great job Chris!

  44. usa_gatekeeper says:

    There should be a separate category for all the private-equity company CEOs who buy distressed companies then promptly mess over the lives and livelihoods of those companies’ workers.

  45. jgeidl says:

    Most of these companies are not doing to well either.