In the Loop

In the Loop: October 29, 2007 Archive

A bully boss goes bye-bye

Posted at 12:50 PM on October 29, 2007 by Jeff Horwich

We're thinking about adult bullies for an upcoming show, and I've been thinking a lot about CEO culture.

Some of the greatest CEOs of modern times have been generally regarded as...well, jerks.

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Maybe it goes part and parcel with being the boss -- you gotta crack some eggs to make an omelet, right? But at the same time, it provides an excuse for people hoping to rise to the top. Think about the self-help section of your local bookstore, with guides on how to influence and dominate other people, manipulate the culture around you, and otherwise rise to the top.

Couldn't help noting all the great things people have to say about soon-to-be-ex-CEO of Merrill Lynch, Stan O'Neal. The guy screwed up and lost the company a bunch of money, which is ostensibly why he got the boot.

But it also sounds like O'Neal was not just breaking a few eggs -- he was dropping whole cartons from the penthouse suite. According to the Wall Street Journal, he fired tons of people who weren't willing to play by his rules, or whom he didn't consider loyal enough allies. Critics say he gutted the company of talent, and just wasn't a nice guy to be around. Apparently it was quite a shock at a company known endearingly as "Mother Merrill" specifically because the management style had not gone the way of Biff Tannen.

Do you have to be a bully to be a CEO, or does being the big boss man just make you kind of a jerk?

Anybody else got any good bully boss stories?

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