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2010 Contenders

Ron Marshall (CEO): Borders

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why this quit is big: Leaving Borders among rumors of financial turmoil and a path toward insolvency, Ron Marshall departs after accepting the CEO position at Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.9 Marshall is credited with reducing the company’s debt, cutting its expenses and building the publishing community’s confidence in the struggling retail chain. Abandoning of Borders as the book business is in turmoil, and as electronic book sellers are luring consumers away from book purchases at physical stores, does contribute to the...

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Tony Hayward (CEO): British Petroleum

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why this quit is big: Perhaps no other multi-national corporation received more bad publicity in 2010 than BP. Hayward served just over three years as BP’s CEO, although he was with the company for nearly 30 years, having served as BP Group Treasurer and Chief Executive in charge of exploration and production in the five years prior to becoming CEO. Basically, Hayward found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tony Hayward was the CEO on watch as the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history unfolded. Why it’s not as big as our...

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David Carey, Jack Griffin, Ann Moore (“Publisher’s Musical Chairs”): Conde Nast, Meredith & Time

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why these quits are big: A lack of consistent leadership can be a serious problem for any corporation, especially where these three executives worked, the media conglomerates Conde Nast, Meredith and Time. Next year will be the first in 15 years that the four largest American magazine companies will all have new leaders, making it possible to judge whether the recent troubles in publishing can be addressed by changes in the executive suite. Want to play a game? Start the musical chairs: Ann Moore left Time Inc. (8 years as chief executive),...

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Mike Hurd (CEO): HP

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why this quit is big: Hurd was lauded by Wall Street and industry analysts for HP’s financial and marketing success during his 5-year tenure. Most observers thought he succeeded as a master of restructuring, helping to grow the complex $100+ billion company. Hurd made a series of major acquisitions, including a $13.2 billion reverse merger of EDS. Other acquisitions helped HP expand into businesses that generate wider profit margins. HP is now a formidable #2 in the computer service behind IBM. Within a year of becoming CEO, HP overtook...

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Brenda Barnes (CEO): Sara Lee

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why this quit is big: After leading Sara Lee for more than 5 years, Brenda Barnes stepped down in August to focus on her health. As of Dec 31, Marcel Smits serves as interim CEO and an unprepared board searches for a successor with the right ingredients. During her tenure, Barnes streamlined the company’s focus back to foods, divesting apparel maker Hanesbrands Inc (Hanes L’eggs, Playtex, Wonderbra, et. al) parts of the Ambi Pur air freshner business, its insecticide line, and sold the company’s European personal care product line for...

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Joel Gemunder (CEO): Omnicare

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Why this quit is big: Joel Gemunder has been at the helm of elder-care giant Omnicare since 1981, steering it to be a $6 billion industry leader. His retirement, accompanied by the simultaneous retirement of SVP Cheryl Hodges, and coming closely on the heels of COO Patrick Keefe’s departure, sent stock prices tumbling 10% at the time. Such change in the midst of navigating the most wide-sweeping healthcare insurance reform will certainly challenge the new executive team. Gemunder commented that in retirement “he will focus on the next stage...

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Jeffrey Kindler (Chief Executive): Pfizer

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in 2010 contender | 0 comments

Jeffrey Kindler (Chief Executive): Pfizer

Why this quit is big: As a former McDonald’s executive, Kindler was hired in part because he was a pharma industry “outsider”, chosen to reinvigorate the company’s bureaucratic culture and help meet the need for change. Further, as a lawyer, Kindler was seen as better suited than others to navigate the industry’s growing legal issues. In his 4 ½-year reign, Kindler aggressively moved Pfizer into emerging markets where industry growth should remain strong over the next decade. In absorbing pharmaceutical and consumer products giant Wyeth,...

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