101 dumbest moments in business: Executives
The year in shenanigans, skulduggery, and just plain stupidity in the world of management.
9. After stealing $50 million, what's a few papers between friends?Facing charges alleging that he looted his company of tens of millions of dollars, disgraced ex-CEO Conrad Black returns to Hollinger headquarters in Toronto and makes off with several cartons of files from his former office. A security camera captures the escapade on tape. Faced with a contempt-of-court charge, Black returns the files to Hollinger.
29. Men, on the other hand, have a charming self-destructive quality.Speaking at an ad industry event in Toronto, WPP Group's worldwide creative director, Neil French, says there aren't more female creative directors "because they're crap" and they eventually "wimp out" and "go off and suckle something." French speaks from a stage decorated as a hunting lodge while being served drinks by a woman in a skimpy maid's outfit, of whom he asks, "Could you lean over a bit more?" Two weeks later WPP accepts French's resignation.
43. Good news, kids: You can flunk out of kindergarten and still grow up to become the CEO of a major tech company!
68. The pen is mightier than the sword.Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher, brought out of retirement to restore the company's image in the wake of ethical lapses by predecessor Phil Condit -- including allegations of affairs with female employees -- is forced to resign for having an affair with a female employee. Though the relationship was consensual, Boeing's board determined that Stonecipher had violated the company's code of conduct -- a document that all 160,000 Boeing employees have been required to sign annually since it was put into place by Stonecipher in 2003.
79. Let's see, that's 752 rum-and-Cokes, 363 orders of buffalo wings, 2,000 lap dances ...In October, American Express sues Savvis CEO Robert McCormick for $241,000 in charges he racked up on a visit to New York strip club Scores. Savvis places McCormick on unpaid leave after he admits to the visit but claims that he charged less than $20,000. He later resigns, accepting more than $600,000 in severance but forfeiting almost $3 million in preferred stock.
91. If by "not giant" you actually mean "huge," then, OK, we'll buy it."The effect of Disney and Pixar guessing wrong on this was actually not giant." -- Pixar CEO Steve Jobs, defending overly optimistic DVD sales forecasts. The animated-film studio sees second-quarter earnings drop 66 percent. Next: 101 Dumbest Moments in Business: Full list >>
From the February 1, 2006 issue