Usually Xerox CEO Ursula Burns is praised for her trailblazing role in corporate America. She is after all the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a role she took on in 2009. But a new study says she’s one of the worst CEOs in America.
24/7 Wall St. and Glassdoor worked together to rank CEOs based on how well they are liked by their employees and analyze the data. They’ve released a list of nine CEOs with the worst reputations.
“At nine major companies, 40 percent or fewer employees gave their CEOs a positive review” reports The Huffington Post. Besides Burns, Sears Holdings’ CEO, Edward Lampert, who received positive reviews from just 20 percent of Sears employees and from just 26 percent of Kmart employees, made the list as the lowest-rated CEO.
For the review, 24/7 Wall St. looked at a variety of factors that can damage a CEO’s reputation within his or her own company. These factors include a CEO’s tendency for publicly embarrassing the company, poor leadership, and a compensation package that employees see as excessive.
Take Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries who brought shame to his company when he made it seem like his company it had a discriminatory policy toward customers, when he said the clothing company’s target audience were “cool, good-looking people with ‘washboard stomachs.’”
For Burns it has been leadership missteps. Her repeated claims that the company’s 2010 $6.4-billion buyout of Affiliated Computer Services would re-energize Xerox’s years of sagging fortunes failed to materialize. “Instead, Xerox’s services business has faltered and revenue flattened. The acquisition’s once-prized assets have barely turned out to be valuable at all,” reports HuffPo. As a result, Burns received a positive review from fewer than one-third of Xerox’s 140,000 employees. Only 30 percent approved of her performance.
Things got really bad late last year, when the company called police before laying off 168 workers at its Cary, N.C., facility, claiming they “were expecting trouble.”
“It was the second round of a total of roughly 500 layoffs,” reports HuffPo. And while jobs were being cuts, Burns was awarded an average of $13 million annually between 2010 and 2012. Excessive executive bonuses were also the black mark against the three brothers of the Dillard family, the retail giants, were paid a total of more than $58 million between 2011 and 2013.
A lack of concern for employees also hit the reputation of Forever 21’s CEO and founder Do Won Chang. When he slashed employee benefits and switched a number of workers from full-time to part-time status, employees weren’t happy. Many felt the move was made so that the company would have provide fewer workers with health coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, since only employees working more than 30 hours per week have to be covered.
24/7 Wall St. looked at more than 225 companies with more than 500 comments to find nine CEOs with the lowest favorable reviews — 40 percent or lower.