The world’s worst CEOs list included several names from the world of IT this year.
The list of five is compiled by Dartmouth College professor Sydney Finkelstein, and included Zynga’s Mark Pincus. This year he extended his list to seven so he could give Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Andrew Mason of Groupon a dishonourable mention.
Pincus was the fourth worst CEO of 2012. Finkelstein’s assessment was based on executives’ questionable corporate strategies and governance styles. The list included five CEOs, with Zuckerberg and Mason added as two executives who “almost (but didn’t)” make it into the rankings.
Finkelstein, who authored the book “Why Smart Executives Fail” told ComputerWorld it was Pincus’s questionable decision to acquire OMGPOP in March of last year for $183 million that did the trick.
The idea was to boost the company’s mobile platform offerings but was too costly a strategy for the technology. Zynga paid four times OMGPOP’s annual sales, while OMGPOP’s flagship “Draw Something” game is not patented and can easily be copied.
Zynga reported a third-quarter 2012 net loss of $52.7 million, including a charge of $95.5 million related to the acquisition. All this happened as the number of payers dropped from 4.1 million in the second quarter of 2012 to 3 million in the third quarter.
Finkelstein said that Pincus was a tremendous entrepreneur, but it’s not the same as being a great CEO.
Zuckerberg earned his dishonourable mention on the list partly due to his “hoodie” mentality.
Once you become the head of a multibillion-dollar company, you have to behave a certain way – which Zuckerberg does not. Facebook was also too slow in getting into the mobile space.
Groupon CEO Mason’s dishonourable mention was because he was had a similar “frat boy” attitude. The firm’s corporate strategy was the same as everyone else, Finkelstein said.
The world’s worst CEO was Brian Dunn of Best Buy, followed by Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy, Andrea Jung of Avon and Rodrigo Rato of Bankia. Steve Ballmer was not even in the running, but he does seem to have difficulty winning anything lately.