Karmazin: Endangered CEO?


There are organizations out there that keep track of endangered species, and there’s a similar list over at Fortune.com has enumerated the ten most endangered CEOs in America today. The list compares lavish compensations to spectacularly bad results and suggests time is running out to turn things around. The economy being what it is, the highest rungs on the ladder are occupied by lenders who dabbled in risky real estate financial instruments or were splashed by those that did. They grabbed the top five spots.

But coming in at #7 – you know him, you love him – is Sirius XM honcho Mel Karmazin. Fortune.com suggests that even with his success at getting the merger done, soaring debt refinancing costs, high overhead and ebbing consumer interest in satellite radio may conspire to make his compensation package, listed at $32M, seem a little pricy.

Jeff Immelt of GE is in at #9, and although his sins are not specifically tied to NBC, it is suggested that some would like to see the conglomerate broken down into smaller pieces. And Yahoo’s Jerry Yang brings in his company’s travails in the internet space to round out the list.

RBR/TVBR observation: Fortune.com is a generalist. In our case, having watched the Zenmeister operate for years, we’re not so sure we’d be as inclined to bet against him, no matter how steep the odds – we still can’t believe he got his monopoly past the government’s alleged watchdogs. Our first thought was that Karmazin’s old officemate, Farid Suleman, deserved a spot on this list. But we guess Citadel just isn’t up high enough on the corporate food chain to warrant a mention. Anyway, here’s the full list.

#1: Richard Fuld, Jr., Lehman Brothers

#2 (tie): Daniel Mudd, Fannie Mae

#2 (tie): Richard Syron, Freddie Mac

#4: Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual

#5: John Thain, Merrill Lynch

#6: Rick Wagoner, General Motors

#7: Mel Karmazin, Sirius

#8: Howard Schultz, Starbucks

#9: Jeff Immelt, General Electric

#10: Jerry Yang, Yahoo

Source: Fortune.com