1. Henry Ford
worst auto ceos henry ford

President, Ford Motor Co.
1903-1918, 1943-1945

A brilliant inventor, Ford was a terrible CEO. He never believed in accountants, so he never knew how much his company was making -- or losing. Stubborn to a fault, he refused to make styling changes in the Model T as its sales wound down in the mid-'20s. When he finally agreed to introduce the Model A, he shut down production for 17 months to get ready. General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), which had already started annual design updates, passed Ford (F, Fortune 500) in annual sales and has seldom relinquished its lead since then. After the death of his son, Edsel, in 1943, Ford reclaimed the title of president, but increasingly unstable, he was forced from office in favor his grandson, Henry II.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated April 03 2013 06:23 AM ET
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