In an email, JP Morgan human resource recruiter Danielle Domingue said: “Jue did very poorly in interviews – some MDs said he was the worst business analyst candidate they had ever seen – and we obviously had to extend him an offer.”
And when cuts came along, they saved his position as well. Had the “worst candidate ever seen” been pushed into an executive position, then it could have yielded negative results for the company.
Take Robert Nardelli, for example, who was CEO of Chrysler and Home Depot.
In ‘Strategic Movement: Competitiveness and Globalization, Cases, Volume 2‘, Michael Duane wrote: “Home Depot’s corporate culture has changed drastically as a result of Nardelli’s leadership style.”
Duane suggested that his military background may be the reason why “under Nardelli, each executive and store director was responsible for various financial targets, and if these targets were not met, they were immediately terminated.”
Needless to say, 97 per cent of top executives were removed and replaced while he reigned as CEO. There was also the fact that Nardelli managed to turn most of his workforce into part-time staff. Sure, it saved Home Depot a lot of money, but it also caused a lot of headache for the company.
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“The advent of new technology had a big impact on corporate culture, and ultimately customer service,” said Duane. “Nardelli believed that by implementing automated checkout lines, customers would be able to pay for their purchases quickly and save time. This innovation would also cut down on employee hours, and checkout personnel would no longer be used.
“However, this plan backfired when the automated checkout machines malfunctioned more often than they worked correctly, and the few employees who were not laid off as a result of the innovation experienced a significant amount of stress due to having to fix the machines and answer customer questions at the same time.
“This frustration was mirrored by customers who were unable to find sales associates when they had specific questions. In addition to significant corporate culture problems, Home Depot’s financial statements were beginning to show signs of trouble for the home improvement giant.”
During his tenure at Home Depot, from 2000 to 2007, investors criticised him for earning $225 while the company’s stocks plummeted. At this crucial time, their chief competitor, Lowe, managed to gain market share.
He even gained a lovely $210m golden parachute when he was pushed out.
Of course, that same year he was hired as the CEO of Chrysler, which also suffered the same fate.
He finally sought a government bailout in early 2009, but, amazingly, when he was offered $750m, Nardelli rejected it because it limited executive pay and then flew off in his private jet.
Chrysler went bankrupt that year His name has now, unfortunately, become synonymous with “worst CEO”.
Read on for Richard Fuld and how he almost crashed the US financial system…
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