Four CEOs who resigned or were fired for firm’s bad performance – like Jose Mourinho

Abramovich wielded the axe on Mourinho after a disastrous start to the season.

According to a Chelsea statement, his three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells makes Mourinho the most successful manager in its 110-year history.

“But the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways,” it said. “The club wishes to make clear Mourinho leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.”

But the concept of the boss being fired – or even taking it upon themselves to leave the firm – for the company’s poor results is more common than you would think. As such, we took a look at some of the biggest examples.

(1) Andrew Mason – Groupon

Just one day after missing the fourth quarter earnings expectations in 2013, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason found himself without a job.

This came after a whopping 77 per cent decline in the company’s share price and a net loss of $81m for the previous quarter – sending its stock price down 24 per cent in one day.

But even though there had been reports for months about internal struggles, no explanation as to why Mason was pushed out the door was given. Instead, the reason was gleaned from an internal memo that Mason had sent before his departure.

“I was fired today,” he wrote. “If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention.” He cited the company’s controversial accounting techniques, its failure to meet its own financial projections and its stock decline. “The events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.”

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(2) Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen – Deutsche Bank

Since taking over from previous CEO Josef Ackermann, Jain and Fitschen had allegedly bounced from one crisis to the next, with many of the problems emanating from the investment-banking unit Jain ran.

The bank repeatedly fell short of its own profit forecasts. The executives said the bank had plenty of capital, only to go to shareholders for more funds, first in 2013 and then again in 2014. In April, the bank was forced to pay about $2.5bn (£1.64bn) and to plead guilty to resolve accusations that its traders tried to rig benchmark interest rates.

Adding to the pressure was that co-CEO Fitschen was on trial in connection with the collapse of the Kirch media empire in 2002, whereby he was accused of giving false testimony.

Needless to say, Jain soon left the company, with co-CEO Fitschen following suit via resignation. 

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(3) Jonathan Hart – Thorntons

Less than five months since issuing a profit warning after “significant short-term difficulties” in May 2015, CEO Jonathan Hart announced his imminent departure from the company.

Thorntons’ December 2014 profit warning resulted in a 22 per cent fall in share price, after which it continued to drop to a near two-year low of 63.25p. And in an April trading statement, the firm described its performance in its retail and FMCG divisions as “mixed” – with figures “remaining flat”. 

According to Chris Beer of Warwick Business School: “Thorntons has had to go through a painful process of re-invention just at the time when the retail market has been under immense pressure. Reducing its own retail foot print back to remove unprofitable outlets has coincided with really intense competition among the big supermarkets – inevitably that has put price pressure on Thorntons as it has on other suppliers.

“It seems the departing Hart has done a reasonable job under difficult circumstances but even that has not been enough. The share price reaction I believe is down to a few key things.”

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(4) Dalton Philips – Morrisons

Morrisons boss Dalton Philips became a boardroom casualty when he was sacked after five years of slumping profits. 

The supermarket had revealed that like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, had dropped by 3.1 per cent in the six weeks to 4 January 2015, compared with falls of 0.3 per cent at Tesco and 1.7 per cent at Sainsbury’s.

Morrisons said it would shut ten loss-making stores and bring in its new chairman four months earlier than planned.

Chairman Andy Higginson said discussions about Philips’s departure had begun three months prior to his departure and he would be looking outside the business for a “fresh pair of eyes to try and regain some trading momentum”.

Experts didn’t seem to be too shocked when he announced he was leaving.

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