Fortune recently posted its Executive Dream Team, and we had a lineup of heavy hitters. From Haier Group CEO Zhang Ruimin to Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby, these are people who have been on the top of their game this past year.
But what about the flip side? Who would be the last picked in Dream Team dodgeball? Certainly, several top executives at Fortune 500 companies have not panned out as expected. Whether that’s due to major missteps, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or some combination, we found a few players who didn’t quite perform up to par.
To be fair to Bob Diamond, he helmed a bank with big problems and that had what looks like a fishy setup with regulators. Still, Diamond was CEO of Barclays when it became the first of many accused banks to come clean about the Libor scandal, which basically involved banks manipulating the rate at which they lend to one another.
Diamond and his board tried to keep him in the CEO seat when the scandal first broke. In statements, Diamond tried to shift the blame for the Libor manipulation to other banks and regulators. But neither the public nor investigators were satiated, and Diamond ultimately resigned. He may lay low for now — as the man in charge of the institution that’s become the poster child for this particular scandal, Diamond probably won’t make the top talent list for a spell.
Scott Thompson stepped into a snake pit when he filled the vacuum left by the departure of Yahoo’s previous CEO, Carol Bartz. Thompson started the job early this year and planned to streamline the company.
But Thompson managed to tick off powerful activist investor Daniel Loeb, CEO of the hedge fund Third Point. After Thompson refused to appoint some of Loeb’s suggested personnel to the Yahoo board, the firm dug up a glaring inaccuracy on Thompson’s resume — he had claimed to have a computer science degree, but only had one in accounting. Quickly after his resignation from Yahoo, online services company ShopRunner hired Thompson as CEO, which is a much smaller undertaking than running the tech goliath.
John Schappert was, briefly, COO of game-maker Zynga, which started to restructure during the end of his time there. Schappert left Zynga in early August, months before his contract with the company ended and after its stock dropped to record lows.
His departure seems to be part of Zynga’s reshuffling, as the company needs to move away from Facebook and onto other platforms. Part of that reorganization meant giving CEO Mark Pincus more control, which resulted in shaving responsibilities from Schappert’s job. Again, keeping Zynga hot might have been a tough ask, but Zynga’s performance during Schappert’s tenure doesn’t put him on the varsity squad for the moment.
This past May, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced that the bank had lost more than $2 billion on a bad bet. He lowballed the number, it turns out — the actual loss is closer to $6 billion. Dimon has maintained his seat at the helm of the bank, but there were casualties from the crisis.
One of the early ones was Ina Drew, who resigned from her position as Chief Investment Officer. Drew had been in the banking industry for over 30 years and was one of the highest-paid women in finance when she left JPMorgan, earning $15.5 million in 2010. But she was also the executive who oversaw the London unit that made the bad trade, which ultimately ended her career at the bank.
This member of the Murdoch dynasty has been leaving board posts of late. This April, James Murdoch resigned as Chairman of the British broadcasting network BSkyB, allegedly to keep the company clear of the fallout from the phone hacking scandal that happened at New Corporation property News of the World. James Murdoch actually ran the tabloid when the scandal broke last year.
The Murdoch family closed the paper, and James stepped down from his position of Chairman in 2011. When the two Murdochs testified before Parliament last year, James seemed sorry, his father Rupert seemed out of it, and his stepmother Wendi Deng attacked a man in the crowd who threw a pie at James’s dad. Seems like other companies might want to avoid a Murdoch in the C-suite, if only because who needs that kind of drama?
Rich Ross may not have been the best fit for studio chief at Disney. He said as much in his April resignation letter, writing that he was stepping down from the position after about 2.5 years on the job. Ross had previously been a TV executive at the company before joining the film side.
Under his watch as studio chief, Disney released two very costly flops — Mars Needs Moms in 2011, and another Mars-themed movie, John Carter, which posted a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. Ross’s problems at Disney might have been a fit issue, but it looks like for his next gig, he’ll likely have to use his expertise outside of the realm of film.