I was on CNBC this morning to discuss our latest candidate for our regular item on CEO's Who've Got to Go, otherwise known as "CEO See-Ya." I must say, much as I enjoy doing the program, I don't necessarily enjoy doing it at 7:30 a.m. One of the few perks of journalism is the ability to start the day hours after all those poor, overpaid executives have started theirs.
Anyhow, as I was discussing this months' candidate—W. Alan McCollough of Circuit City (access code required), who's not evil by any means but simply hasn't been able to shake the company out of its Best-Buy induced inferiority complex—I started thinking about why exactly there's been so much agita over the public firing of Carly Fiorina.
And then it hit me: It's because there's been so much malfeasance and generally yucky behavior in the corner office that people have forgotten that you can get fired simply for doing a good old-fashioned bad job.
Someone on the show asked me whether Mr. McCollough was really responsible for the 43% decline in Circuit City's stock price over five years, given the cards he'd been dealt. Well, it's true that there was a tough row to hoe over there. But please, if he's not responsible. who is? The job is called Chief Executive Officer. It's exceedingly well-paid. And if Carly or Alan or whomever can't make its bosses—the public shareholders—satisfied after 5 years, well, buh-bye.
Certainly if the rest of us didn't satisfy our bosses for five years, we'd be toast too. Right?