Worst Dow CEO: Brian Moynihan, Bank of America
Brian Moynihan took hubris to a new level this year by trying to act like a few hours of community service offset the irresponsible lending, robo-signing and fee proposals that have caused Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to rank among one of the most hated companies in the U.S.
But investors don’t need to get philosophical to find reasons to pick on Moynihan. He has piloted an ugly 60% decline in BofA stock this year — giving shares a performance of -66% since he took the helm of this financial stock.
Say what you want about the challenges facing banks or the fact that Moynihan took a job with almost no chance of success — the bottom line is that other banks haven’t fared as poorly. Jamie Dimon over at JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) might be a soulless fat cat who thinks rich folk need tax breaks, but his bank is at least back to 2005 levels and has managed to find some measure of stability. It’s a tough job, but not impossible.
Besides, Bank of America just awarded Moynihan some $9.05 million in shares of BAC stock — meaning that even if he doesn’t care a whit for the company or shareholders, he has to prop up share prices to make his bonus worthwhile. If that doesn’t motivate a CEO, what will?
Dishonorable Mention: Leo Apotheker, Hewlett-Packard
You can’t really hold Apotheker 100% accountable for all of the woes at Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ). For starters, he was fired midway through the year and his tenure was just short of 12 months — hardly enough to have an impact. However, as with Moynihan, it’s not an excuse to claim that you are in a no-win situation. HP clearly showed signs it was one of the worst-run corporations in America — and it was Apotheker’s job to fix it. Instead, he presided over a 40% slide in share prices in less than a year. And HPQ stock actually was even lower on the day he was ousted than it is now. A spate of ill-advised mergers, a knee-jerk announcement it would kill mobile device manufacturing and a host of other headlines make for an ugly body of work — even in that short time frame.
To find out the best and worst CEOs in the Dow, check out our Dow Leaderboard feature that gives live returns for all 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average components. You can sort the stocks based on returns since the current CEO took over and see how shares have performed on their watch.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook. As of this writing, Jeff Reeves was long Alcoa but did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Check out InvestorPlace.com’s other looks back at 2011 and ahead to 2012 here.