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Wall of Shame: Textron, Kraft Foods, Chesapeake Energy and More

Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009 | 9:03 PM ET
Cramer's Wall Of Shame
A look at some of the worst CEOs, with Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

The nomination process for Mad Money’s Wall of Shame came to a close on Wednesday, as Cramer decided on a final CEO to “honor” with this distinction. First, though, he defended a few executives against viewers’ complaints.

A number of people had suggested that Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon deserved a spot on the Wall, largely because he bought his own stock on margin. McClendon then faced a margin call and was forced to sell almost all of his common-stock holdings to meet his debts.

But Cramer needs to see serial underperformance before he’ll single out a CEO, and McClendon has proved himself more than capable. Between Chesapeake’s public offering on Feb. 4, 1993, and now, the stock is up 1,698%. The S&P 500 over the same period has risen only 109%. This is not the kind of execution that warrants placement on the Wall.

Cramer also defended Kraft Foods’ Irene Rosenfeld. She took over on June 26, 2006, and the stock is down only 17% since then, compared to the S&P’s 25% drop. Include dividends and KFT is actually up 8%. Again, that is at least decent stewardship given the US economy over the past two years.

Bob Nardelli, the former CEO of Chrysler and Home Depot , received a ton of nominations as well. But he can’t hurt shareholders anymore, and didn’t at Chrysler, his most recent gig. Therefore, Cramer said, there’s no reason to add him to the Wall. If Nardelli hurt anyone, it was the taxpayers after Washington’s bailout of Detroit.

Textron’s Lewis Campbell, however, deserves the Shame treatment. The CEO took over on July 1, 1998, with TXT trading at $36.63. The stock closed Wednesday at $11.43, a loss of 69%. How does this conglomerate – which includes financing, private jets, helicopters and aerospace components – compare with its peers? Over the same period, Boeing is up 10%, United Tech is up 136%, General Dynamics jumped 152%, L-3 Communications has added a whopping 349% and the S&P has lost just 19%. The S&P’s performance isn’t great, of course, but it is still better than Textron.

Mr. Campbell, welcome to the Wall of Shame.

Watch the video for more reasons why Campbell received Mad Money’s highest “honor.”

Cramer's charitable trust owns Home Depot.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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