8 Guilty CEOs at The Center of Scandals –


CEOs who find themselves at the center of a scandal are usually not stupid. They are always greedy, arrogant, and convinced they are above the law, which leads them to make stupid decisions. Case in point, after serving only four months as the CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson stepped down after it was revealed he had padded his resume with a fake degree in computer science. Out on the street and in the boardrooms, there is a collective growing impatience with CEOs who flagrantly break the law, profit heavily from unethical and illegal behavior, and expect shareholders and tax payers to clean up their messes. Here are eight CEOs who were or currently are at the center of some very public and ugly scandals. It’s telling to note that not all of them lost their jobs or ended up in jail!

  1. Ina “Et tu, Bruno?” Drew

    In May 2012, JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told the world his firm lost $2 billion (and counting) on trading thanks to the recklessness of London-based employee Bruno Iksil, nicknamed “the London Whale” for his propensity for betting big on corporate derivatives. But while Iksil has yet to step down, 30-year firm veteran Ina Drew, who managed the Chief Investment Office that directed the trades, was recently made to walk the plank. Maybe she’s relieved she gets to step down just as the FBI begins its probe into JP Morgan’s accounting practices. Not surprisingly, Dimon doesn’t seem at all worried what investigators will find. If the firm goes under, they can count on you, the taxpayer, to pay for a bailout.

  2. Ruport “Hack man” Murdoch

    News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch’s media empire continues to come under fire after it was reported that employees of the company’s News of the World tabloid hacked into the private phone messages of celebrities, politicians, and crime victims. As a result of the scandal, Murdoch was forced to shut down News of the World and pay millions in settlements to phone-hacking victims. Murdoch’s son James stepped down as chairman of News International, the British subsidiary of News Corp., and former head of News International Rebekah Brooks, along with her husband, has just been charged with obstruction of justice.

  3. Jon “I simply do not know where the money is” Corzine

    So imagine you’re the CEO of a major financial derivatives broker. You embezzle more than $1.2 billion of your customer’s accounts, lie to your shareholders about the company’s capital and liquidity, and then, after your company files for bankruptcy, stand before the U.S. Justice Department’s investigating committee and say, “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date.” What’s your name? No, it’s not “brass balls;” it’s Jon Corzine! Amazingly, Corzine, the former head of MF Global, has yet to be charged for aforementioned crimes, will probably walk away from any prosecution, and is no doubt kicking back and relaxing in his mansion in New Jersey as you read this.

  4. Bernie “Like a telecom cowboy” Ebbers

    At least a few of these jokers are actually behind bars. Former CEO of Worldcom Bernie Ebbers, a good old boy known for dressing in denim jeans and cowboy boots, is currently serving a 25-year sentence after being found guilty in 2005 of fraud and conspiracy, which resulted in a $100 billion loss to investors. Ebbers was part of a larger culture of greed that rocked the financial world (and the world of many a hapless employee and investor) back in the 1990s. He holds the dubious honor of being named by Time magazine as the 10th most corrupt CEO of all time. Yee haw!

  5. Ken “Kenny boy” Lay

    Enron. That word will forever be associated with complex accounting tricks, an almost religious reverence of dollar bills and strippers, and worthless 401k retirement accounts. Former Enron CEO Ken Lay, known as “Kenny boy” to former president George W. Bush, died suddenly and mysteriously after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy. He was cremated, leading many to consider the conspiracy theory that says he’s alive, and living in Texas with the Bush family. Lay’s fellow Enron CEO Jeffery “I am not an accountant” Skilling is currently pumping iron in a low-security prison, while his defense team continues to try and get his convictions overturned.

  6. Steve “If the shoe fits” Madden

    The all-American story of shoe designer and former Madden CEO Steve Madden shows that you can get busted by the FBI, plead guilty to charges including stock fraud and money laundering, and still earn yourself $700,000 a year annually while serving your prison sentence. Americans love criminals, especially if they design tacky, overpriced shoes. Madden did manage to get his old job back, albeit without the title of CEO, after serving his 31-month prison sentence. This makes us wonder, did Madden find some kind of redemption while behind bars? Let he who is without sin cast the first shoe!

  7. John “We certainly conducted business” Junker

    If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Can I put this on my expense account?” then your name isn’t John Junker. Junker, the former CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, along with others on the bowl’s payroll, had no qualms about charging their employer for visits to strip clubs, junkets to college football games with politicians and their families, and a four-day 50th birthday bash for Junker at Pebble Beach. When an internal investigation eventually caught up with Junker, he attempted to defend the strip club expenses by saying, “We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit and we certainly conducted business.” The special committee fired him after his testimony.

  8. Vikram “No bang for your buck” Pandit

    Finally, we’d like to offer some friendly advice to Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, who, at this time, is being sued by a shareholder for breach of his fiduciary duties. Moody’s is set to downgrade Citigroup, which will be another blow to its already dwindling returns. Shareholders recently rejected a large, completely unnecessary compensation package for Pandit, reflecting the public’s general disgust with CEO salaries and the waste and glut of “too big to fail” financial institutions. Given these recent and pending events, Pandit should consider updating his resume, booking a long vacation for himself, and making a graceful exit before things get any worse for him.