CEO, General Motors
When Smith took over, GM's U.S. market share was 46%. It was 35% when he left. In the process, he wasted billions trying to revive the sagging giant through diversification (EDS and Hughes), automation (robotized factories), reorganization (two superdivisions B-O-C and C-P-C), commonization (GM-10 cars) and experimentation (Saturn). Smith's legacy was a fleet of low-quality, lookalike autos, an unqualified successor, and a mountain of debt that pushed the company close to bankruptcy in 1992.
Top executives from the world's biggest automakers have a lot to prove in this year.