The stock market's tepid upswing doesn't mean a reprieve for every underperforming executive. This month, we choose Level 3 Communications founder James Q. Crowe as the CEO who has to go.
Level 3 Communications
CEO: James Q. Crowe
Tenure: 6.5 years
Total Shareholder Return*: -94.9%
Peer Index Return*: -62.9%
S&P 500 Return*: -12.9%
Total CEO Pay: $10.9 million
Former WorldCommer Crowe and Level 3, which provides high-priced fiber-optic telecommunications networks, happily rode the broadband run-up through the 1990s. But faced with a post-bubble bandwidth glut, Crowe continued to expand his network, taking on more than $6 billion in debt. His new focus on metro service may be too little too late: Never profitable, Level 3 faces mounting losses, and space on its network sells for just cents on the dollar.
*Data from Glass, Lewis & Co. and FactSet Research Systems for five years ending April 6, 2004.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.