J.C. Penney’s Ronald Johnson, Nancy Brinker of Susan K. Komen for the Cure Among Forbes’ Worst CEO Screw-ups of 2012

Ron Johnson

J.C. Penney’s Ronald Johnson, Avon’s Andrea Jung, Nancy Brinker of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Long Island Power Authority’s Michael Harvey are cited for the “worst CEO screws-ups of 2012” by Forbes.
Susan Adams, who compiled the list, said she “got help from Forbes colleagues and from Sydney Finkelstein, a management professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and author of Why Executives Fail, who composes his own annual list of the worst CEOs of 2012.”

Besides, she acknowledged borrowing “liberally from Prof. Finkelstein and also consulted with two professors at Kellogg School of Management, Daniel Diermeier and Harry Kraemer, and with Richard Levick, a Forbes contributor who runs Levick Strategic Communications, a crisis communications firm in Washington, D.C.”

Here’s a snapshot of the screw-ups, as chronicled by Forbes:

Andrea Jung, Avon, resigned as CEO at the end of 2011 and as chairman in October.
“Presided over a long period of poor performance, missing analysts’ estimates. Failed to groom a successor…Rejected a $10.7 billion acquisition offer from Coty…Though Jung hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, the company is being investigated for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Forbes said.

Ronald Johnson, CEO, J.C. Penney
Former head of Apple’s retail business and former executive at Target was handpicked to turn around J.C. Penney in late 2011 but so far, the company has been losing money and the stock price has slid by over 50%. “Has tried to equate his attempt to turn around J.C. Penney with Steve Jobs’ efforts to revive Apple a decade ago. He’s comparing apples and oranges,” Forbes said.

Nancy Brinker of Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure resigned in August

“Brinker had presided over the hiring of former Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel, a critic of Planned Parenthood. Though Brinker and the Komen organization reversed its decision about Planned Parenthood funding and Handel resigned, the Planned Parenthood flip flop seriously damaged the organization,” Forbes said.

Michael Hervey, the acting CEO, Long Island Power Authority, resigned in November.

“The utility has a track record of failing to prepare for storms, including basic steps like trimming trees that could bring down power lines. After (Hurricane) Sandy hit, LIPA routinely failed to communicate to customers, leaving phones unanswered and customers, literally, in the dark.  Service maps were wildly inaccurate and LIPA failed to send out service crews as promised,” Forbes said.

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