Vice Presidents Anonymous is a support group for recovering VPs, much like Alcoholics Anonymous is for alcoholics. But instead of sharing stories about struggles with alcohol, we share stories about struggles with greed, sleaze, aggression, delusion, paralysis and imbecility .   

  1. Agee, Bill: Bendix

  2. Agee, Bill: Morrison—Knudsen

    • ​​Roughly five years later, another company took a chance on Agee--Morrison-Knudsen--and Agee performed well, initially: he saved them from being raided and turned their profits around within a year or so. But things didn't smell right from the very start--Agee laid off 600 employees from the Boise-based company and high-tailed it to Pebble Beach to manage the company remotely. If that doesn't sound like alienation from the working man, what does? When he ultimately "left" MK, Boise wasn't exactly weeping at his loss:

    • There were rumblings, a bad quarter here, a worse quarter there, until the number for the bad quarter came and it was a loss of $310 million. Agee had cooked the books, taken gambles, and lost. He was booted fairly unceremoniously, and, in the words of the founder's widow, "good riddance."

  3. Akers, John: IBM

  4. Allaire, Paul: Xerox

    • ​​When Paul Allaire took the reins of Xerox in 1992, he had an ambitious vision for how the company would be run under him. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, he details his concerns with the staff-centric management of Xerox, its growing competition, and complacent marketing efforts. He was going to bring Xerox roaring into the 21st century at the top of the field for good. But something went wrong along the way. His "redesign" of the company saw the decision-making power taken out of the hands of staff and middle managers and placed in the hands of very few at the top (did someone say Elizabeth Warren?), which had come to include a character known as Rick Thoman, the new COO hired from IBM in 1997. 3 years later the SEC brings forward a complaint with Allaire and Thoman square in its sights, alleging some very cooked books. Guess the company makeover didn't go as planned? 

  5. Andersen, Roger: Continental Illinois

    • CI invested in developing country, took on over $1 billion in risky loans.


        • This is a fascinating article on how the fallout of business malpractice affects everyone involved, but also of how the Greatest Generation formed the American corporate world, in a sense, and vice versa—“the organization man,” the heart of American business ethics and manners.

        • ''At some point,'' Myers says, ''I read or heard that there is no end to how successful somebody can be as long as they give the credit to someone else. I adopted that as my credo.''

        • A look into the people who make companies what they are, but are ultimately discarded by them--the downfall of the Organization Man.

    • Roger Anderson is the one who initiates the failure of this company and transitively, the downfall of Myers, with his new aggressive loan policy, beginning in 1976.

      • Waters down the internal deliberations on signing off on loans, ends up signing off on penn square, and the rest is history.

    • ​“For a while, the new ethos worked wonders. American companies became pre-eminent in such fields as autos, aircraft, energy and electronics and, in the process, gave the United States the highest standard of living ever known. But within the last decade, in industry after industry, the nation has fallen behind in innovation, productivity and market share. Many commentators believe that the very organization-man revolution that helped create America's robust economic health has contributed to its decline.”

  6. Anderson, Warren: Union Carbide

  7. Antioco, John: Blockbuster

    • ​​​I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille! Blockbuster didn't so much descend the staircase of irrelevancy as trip on its shoelaces, barrel down the steps and break its neck on a Netflix kiosk. The Internet was tough a tough adjustment for most of the home entertainment industry but, boy, was John Antioco unprepared. Throughout the early 2000's, Antioco and his board rejected offers from Reed Hastings to buy Netflix "multiple times," at one point even "laughing him out" of the room. Whoops! A sympathetic soul may be inclined to apologize for Blockbusters brain trust and implore us to not define their careers by a single screw-up, and maybe they'd be entitled to that opinion--if in 2008 the board hadn't shopped a $1 billion buyout of...Circuit City?? Read the room, fellas.

  8. Arnall, Roland: Ameriquest

    • ​​​"Don't judge to quickly--we won't." Pretty fitting motto for a company that was a pioneer not only of subprime mortgage loans, but subprime mortgage loans that don't even require a verification of employment. They're not just cautious with judgment--they're judgment free! How pious. Funny commercials though:

    • Many people, even his fiercest critics, had "trouble" reconciling his personal character and philanthropy with the lending practices Arnall blamed on "rogue agents." Do you buy that? Could such a charitable person also be a sludgy, predatory loan shark? Let's check the 2007 tax returns of the Roland and Dawn Arnall Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. What philanthropic non-profit uses a measly $2.07 million of its $37 million in total assets for charitable activities, and then lists "N/A" when asked to list said charitable activities? Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but sounds like someone who knows their way around financial loopholes well enough to cause a worldwide financial crisis--someone who might not care very much, either.