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 .
Sanford, Charles—Bankers Trust
Seawell, William—Pan Am
Eyes too big for his stomach. Crosses paths with good ol Frank Lorenzo, cant help but try and outbid him and buys National Airlines for way more than Pan Am can afford. The merger, which Pan Am hoped would open up domestic routers, left it too cash poor to pay for the new jets meant to conduct those very flights.
Shoemaker, Alvin V.—First Boston
Many awful CEOs don’t have to pay much for their screw ups—maybe just in reputation within the business world. But Michael Moore didn’t allow for that. Thanks to his documentary, Roger and Me, Moore put Smith’s callousness and incompetence on full display for all to see and enjoy…and lament.
Made CEO replacing Roger Smith in 1990, voted out in 1992. Stayed loyal to Smiths investments for the sake of loyalty.
He was an engineer, not a CEO. His decisions were personal—he couldn’t get tough with unions, lay off workers, or let down his buddy Roger.
Stumpf, John—Wells Fargo
John Stumpf grew up one of eleven children on a dairy farm in Minnesota. Through hard work and business savvy, Stumpf climbed from being a breadmaker in a small town to CEO of one of the largest banks in the world. Sounds like another comfy example of the American Dream, right? Sure—but what indicates its achievement? When do you stop dreaming? Stumpf never did. Him and a couple of like-minded fellas went ahead and swallowed their trusting customers in their ever expanding, wantonly greedy dream.
Elizabeth Warren caught on, and gave us some pretty satisfying owns.