Neuharth: Kiss off CEOs who can’t fix problems

[Perpetrators or victims? GM’s Wagoner, GCI’s Dubow]

Like rubbernecking past a car wreck, I can’t resist octogenarian retired CEO Al Neuharth‘s weekly column, every Friday in USA Today.

As General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and other Big Three auto bosses rattle tin cups before Congress, Big Al asks a question that’s on everyone’s mind: “Why should any bosses who got their company into a mess be saved from their misdeeds?”

(A snarky question even closer to home: Why should retired bosses who got their companies into a mess continue collecting platinum retirement benefits? Like, you know, a company-paid nanny for their kids? Or lifetime free health insurance? But I digress!)

“Boards of other troubled companies should follow these same guidelines,” Neuharth writes today. “If the boss inherited a mess, be a little bit patient and help him or her. If the boss caused it and/or didn’t know how to fix it, kiss him or her goodbye.”

Well, pucker up Gannett board of directors, as you compare the closing stock performance of Gannett vs. General Motors since July 15, 2005 — when Craig Dubow became CEO:

  • Gannett: down 91.3%
  • GM: down 91.2%.

More financial pearls of wisdom!
From the treehouse archives of Big Al:

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