CEO Axings Up

Downturn puts bosses in the firing line as investors lose patience
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2009 6:43 AM CST
General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner is among the executives analysts believe will struggle to keep their jobs in 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – Americans are losing their jobs at the fastest rate in many years and chief executives are far from immune, reports the Wall Street Journal. Six publicly held firms have chucked their CEOs in the last 8 days alone. Many others—including big names like GM's Rick Wagoner, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Steve Odland of Office Depot, and Ken Lewis of Bank of America—may soon be getting pink slips as their firms struggle with poor results and slumping share prices.

CEO turnover "doubles in bad times," said one analyst who examined years of data, and the exec job losses multiply as new bosses ditch the old chief's lieutenants to bring in their own team. A fresh figurehead tends to worsen rather than reverse share price declines, Journal figures show, a trend experts blame on new bosses having to make tough decisions before they have fully grasped the business.