The 5 Worst CEOs of 2012 and Why They Should Be Fired

There were plenty of choices to pick from for the five worst CEOs of 2012.

Among others, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Brian Dunn of Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Andrew Mason of Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) all had a rough year.

Money Morning's experts picked through the list of disappointing names and came up with the five worst CEOs of 2012.

Here are the finalists, along with our experts' reasons why these weak performers should be given the axe in 2013:

  1. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve - Picked by Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald:

    Bernanke is the CEO of the biggest private institution on the planet, the Fed.

    Despite overwhelming evidence that the theories and methods he is using have not worked, are not working and have never worked since the dawn of recorded history, he continues to plow ahead with more of the same failed monetary and fiscal policy that got us into this mess.

    In the process, he risks unspeakable damage to the United States and to the global financial system while only kicking the proverbial can down the road.  

  1. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Inc. (Nasdaq: MSFT) - Picked by Capital Waves Strategist Shah Gilani:

    Ballmer is the worst CEO of the year for plenty of reasons, if not the sole fact that Microsoft is one of the largest capitalization companies in the world, sitting on tons of cash and going exactly nowhere. Check that, it's going down.

    Ballmer refuses to apply idle cash into innovation, or basic tech stalwarts like mobile, handsets, music, tablets or anything else that's super-hot, and where there's room for a giant to elbow its way into the party.

    The stock peaked at $60 in 2000, not surprisingly, when he took over, and has gone nowhere but down. It's now at $27 and maybe will test multi-year support at $24. The day the stock breaks $24 is the day he should not only be fired, but pilloried.

    Executions of MSFT's limited rollouts are always delayed and consistently lacking pizzazz and enhanced value. The company is now a reflection of Ballmer's dull personality and his selfish desire to shepherd the $19 billion he's worth but hasn't by any means earned.

  2. Jamie Dimon, JPMorganChase & Co. (NYSE: JPM)- Picked by Global Investing Strategist Martin Hutchinson:

    The "Whale" report released last Thursday suggests that the worst CEO title should go to Jamie Dimon.

    JPM was using a risk-management system that had been proved fallacious five years earlier, was operating it on spreadsheets full of calculation errors, and was allowing traders who had been told to close a position to exacerbate the problem by opening another position that didn't actually provide a hedge.

    If the Three Stooges had done a movie about risk management, Dimon would have starred in it.

  3. Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) - Picked by both Global Resources Specialist Peter Krauth and Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors:

    Moors: Hands down, it's got to be McClendon. (He was) playing loose with the books, betting horribly wrong on natural gas prices in late 2011, exposingthe company without protection when the price decline hit - could he also have been shorting the market from his private holdings? - and facing a shareholder revolt.

    The company is slated to release an internal review shortly on their CEO's shenanigans. Time for him to leave. Put a bust of the "founder" in the lobby if you must, but keep him away from the boardroom.

    Krauth: The guy took $1 billion in personal loans secured by his stake in the company's wells, and $500 million of that (for personal use) was from EIG Global Energy Partners, which got advantageous terms on Chesapeake investments.

    He even secretly ran a $200 million hedge fund trading oil and gas, which reeks of conflict of interest, just like his corporate sponsorship deal while he owned the Oklahoma Thunder. And finally, he used company jets for personal trips and had employees do his personal work.

  4. Mark Pincus, Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA) - Picked by Defense and Technology Specialist Michael Robinson:  

    He sold roughly 16 million shares after the lockup period ended and at a time when the stock was broadly selling off.

    If the founder, who is under pressure from the board to improve operations, dumps stock, then why should I invest?

    The stock is in the cellar, trading at $2.41, down more than 70% in a year. Maybe Mark should forget management and spend more time playing Farmville and other Zynga games.

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