Wall of Shame: Boeing, Verizon, United Tech and More
Cramericans have sent hundreds of e-mails, telling us who they think are the business world’s worst executives. From gripes about execution to compensation to declining stock prices, a long roster has emerged of the woefully inept.
That hasn’t always been the case, though. A couple of viewers nominated Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg and Boeing’s James McNerney for induction to the Wall, but Cramer couldn’t disagree more.
Boeing is down just 12% since McNerney took over, compared to the S&P 500’s 21% drop. And while the 787 Dreamliner’s release has been much delayed, Cramer expects it before the Paris Air Show on June 15. A new aerospace product should take off as a result, and that’s a multiyear move investors don’t want to miss.
As for Verizon, Seidenberg is more Ivan the OK than Ivan the Terrible, Cramer said. The CEO has done no worse – and on some occasions he has done better – than his peers, delivering a loss of 6.2%, including dividends, since taking the job on April 1, 2002. Since that time, AT&T is down 6%, Qwest is down 36%, Sprint Nextel 58% and Comcast 32%, all including dividends. Cramer won’t add a CEO to the Wall of Shame unless the company’s stock has done substantially worse than its peers. Also, thanks to Seidenberg’s push for Verizon Wireless and FiOS broadband, revenues jumped 44% between 2002 and 2008, while earnings per share rose 51% over the same period.
One viewer nomination that Cramer did agree with, however, is that of DryShips CEO George Economou. Economou took the company public on Feb. 3, 2005, and the stock closed at $20.20 that day. Since then DRYS has plummeted 66% to $7.31. Cramer attributed the performance to the CEO paying up for new ships, which ultimately hurt shareholders. Economou should have follow Nordic American’s lead and waited for a better price. Admittedly, NAT is an oil tanker firm and not dry bulk, but the principle is the same. It’s good management versus bad.
Cramer outlined his decision-making process for the Wall of Shame as follows: the CEO needs to be a chronic underperformer, a serial destroyer of value and the stock has to have the potential to go higher once the boss is gone. Economou fits all three criteria, so he’s the newest member of the elite Mad Money group.
Watch the video for Cramer’s take on George David and his performance at United Technologies, both as CEO and chairman.
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