There were lots of rotten CEOs this year, writes MarketWatch’s Herb Greenberg, but the man who stood above (below?) the pack was Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert. Lampert is revered for his brilliant trading at ESL Investments, but he’s a bad retail boss, espousing a profit-over-sales ethos that’s failing miserably. Same-store sales and margins are going the wrong way for Sears.
But though retailing’s “magic sauce” has eluded him, Lampert wasn’t the runaway winner for Greenberg. Many would-be shoo-ins—like Citigroup’s Chuck Prince or Motorola’s Ed Zander—are now out of work. Financials were so crammed with subprime blunderers it was impossible to single out one exec. Mesa Air’s Jonathan Ornstein also came close, coupling financial underperformance with pilot attrition and legal problems.