The list of former CEOs is a long one, and has grown substantially as a result of the global financial crisis. Investors find it easy to remember such names as John Thain, G. Kennedy Thompson, Charles O. "Chuck" Prince III, James E. "Jimmy" Cayne and E. Stanley "Stan" O'Neal.
Needless to say, the memories aren't always pleasant.
During the past several years, the departure of a company's chief executive was almost always a sign of a company in the midst of a shakeup – and an admission that there was a long list of deeply ingrained problems to solve.
Few of the departures were truly voluntary, and the financial-crisis-induced ousters usually stoked the turmoil: They almost always came at a surprising time, and there was almost never a successor in place who could step in and quell the uncertainty by immediately taking over.