Behind every buzzworthy headline of the past year has been someone in charge, someone to blame, or just someone to laugh at and talk about. From the debacle of Toyota’s millions of recalled automobiles, to a fed-up flight attendant with a flair for drama, we’ve become familiar with a few new faces in 2010, for better or for worse.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota:
When Toyoda was born into Toyota’s reigning family, he probably figured he’d have a pretty nice life. Unfortunately for him, he ended up inheriting a big ol’ mess of a recall situation in 2009, which continued with the February recall of many models for braking problems. That was just the start of Toyoda’s Toyota headache, as millions of cars were pulled in the months to follow and investigations into the company’s recall procedures were launched by Congress. It’s all cool though, Toyoda totally apologized to shareholders.
Steven Slater, “JetBlue Guy”:
Poor Steven Slater, JetBlue flight attendant, was so fed up with crabby, mean customers last August, he decided that if he was going to quit his job, he was damn well going to go out with pizzazz. Grabbing some beers to go and popping the emergency slide, heading for freedom and ending his career in the air instantly launched Slater into his 15 minutes of fame, becoming the hero for anyone who’s ever had to deal with the hard-to-please masses.
Michael O’Leary, RyanAir CEO: Want to know a way to really get people to hate you? Charge them for the luxury of easing their bladders on flights! Or if that doesn’t work and you want to save costs, why not invent some handy vertical seats, to stuff even more uncomfortable passengers on your planes? Okay okay, we’ve got a great one — removing the second pilot! All really, really terrific plans in 2010, thanks to Ryanair’s discount CEO, Michael O’Leary.
Tony Hayward, former BP CEO:
All the troubled started in April, when an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico a Transocean, Ltd-owned and BP-leased offshore rig exploded and sank. The resulting hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil that leaked into the waters of the Gulf wouldn’t be plugged until August. Hayward’s headache ended before that, when he was pushed aside in July. We’re guessing he’s not too upset about the end of that particular line of work.
Daniel Akerson, General Motors CEO:
Listen, we all want a raise. Unfortunately, the economy right now is such that lots of us aren’t getting one. But that didn’t prevent Daniel Akerson, GM’s newly-minted CEO, from asking the government if he could give his executives some nice big salaries, while the company he runs received money from the Troubled Asset Relief Fund. His reasoning? They’ve got to be able to compete with all the other automobile fatcats and hire the best executives money can buy! After all, the recession is over, right?
John Pistole, TSA Chief:
For those of us who just looove to complain about traveling, John Pistole of the Transportation Security Administration gave us so many reasons to get grumpy in 2010. John brought us revealing full-body scanners and intimate pat downs at airports, as the TSA attempted to make the friendly skies even friendlier. Pistole proved to already cranky consumers that there are worse things than putting your liquids in plastic baggies. Much, much worse things, like having your bladder bag explode during a TSA pat-down. No one wins there. Such invasive procedures haven’t prevented a things like six-inch hunting knives or loaded handguns from making it onto flights, so, rest easy.
We just can’t wait to see who will raise our hackles in 2011!