Thursday, December 15, 2011

Biggest CEO departures of 2011

Biggest CEO departures of 2011

Biggest CEO departures of 2011, In a year of business scandals & a rough economy, revisits the big corner-office changes that drove headlines & shook up industries. The corporate world has seen several high-profile departures this year. As usual, few chief executives left on their own terms.

Top-down change
"Biggest" is, of course, a relative term, but all of the chief executives on a list of the year's most significant corner-office clear-outs caused big stirs within their industries, drove headlines beyond them and brought change to their companies.

Some left in scandal, others to make way for a new generation of leaders. Most departed as their companies struggled to make profits and stay ahead of rapidly changing business environments.

Most, but not all, walked away with huge severance payouts.

Click through the following slide show (published Dec. 12) for details about changes at the top of some of America's best-known companies.
Steve Jobs, Apple
Apple's (AAPL) announcement that Steve Jobs would step down as chief executive on Aug. 24, just a little more than a month before his death, heralded the year's most significant CEO departure.
Jon Corzine, MF Global
Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, U.S. senator and head of Goldman Sachs (GS), has continued making headlines since resigning from MF Global on Nov. 4. Authorities are investigating the fallen brokerage, which bought billions in bonds from countries like Ireland and Spain and hid the transactions off its balance sheet.
Michael Woodford, Olympus
Olympus, (OCNY), the giant Japanese camera-maker, ousted Michael Woodford, its British chief executive, in October. Woodford, who took the top job only six months earlier, had questioned billions in takeover costs. The company has since admitted it cooked the books. Legal probes are ongoing, and Woodford has met with top shareholders in a bid to regain the top post.
Eric Schmidt, Google
Google (GOOG) co-founder Larry Page, 38, is replacing the 56-year-old Eric Schmidt as chief executive at the search giant. The move was made to try to infuse the company with the passion and speed of a startup.
Leo Apotheker, Hewlett-Packard
In 11 months at the helm of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Leo Apotheker struck a number of deals that analysts criticized. Shares in the tech pioneer shed 47% of their value during Apotheker's tenure. New CEO Meg Whitman, who came on board in September, has reversed her predecessor's decision to sell its PC business.
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