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Ebbers: Guilty of Being a Lousy Leader

There’s been some fascinating detail pouring out of a New York courthouse during the trial of Bernie Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom Inc. Ebbers, of course, is on trial for charges of conspiracy and securities fraud in the $11 billion accounting fraud.

Yesterday’s testimony from a “revenue analyst” at WorldCom may not have made clear whether he’s guilty of fraud. But Ebbers was portrayed as one helluva lousy leader, distrusting of employees and micromanaging ridiculous details.

The analyst, Brady Connor, testified that he once asked Ebbers how employees could help cut expenses. Ebbers’ suggestions make him a modern-day Scrooge. Among them:

  • Place security cameras where employees took cigarette breaks to stop them from abusing the privilege;
  • Get tech office staff to analyze e-mails to determine if employees were arriving on time;
  • Ask security staff at the parking lot to track when employees drove onto the lot because Ebbers thought many were arriving 30 minutes late;
  • Stop employees from walking twice around the pond on the WorldCom campus during their break. Ebbers estimated it took 30 minutes to walk around the pond and doing it twice meant people were taking too long of a lunch break;
  • Count the number of coffee filters used by employees to stop coffee filter abuse;
  • Cut the number of bottles used at the water cooler.

Has anyone had a boss as bad as this guy? All together now: CEO, See-Ya!

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