Reviewing Cramer's Worst CEOs of 2010 List and Picking a Few for 2011

by: SA Editor Rocco Pendola

Without an ounce of hesitation, I disclose that I am a big Jim Cramer fan. I've made the case for Cramer (and CNBC) elsewhere. Simply put, like many talented and entertaining information-brokers, large numbers of people misunderstand Cramer. Worse yet, most refuse to dig deeper and learn about the complexity that underlies the bombast. But, I digress ...

Cramer's worst CEO segment stands as one of my favorite parts of his show. Because some investors like to keep track of Cramer's performance, I thought it makes sense to go beyond his daily recommendations and see what's happened to the stocks and CEOs of the companies he and/or his viewers felt were being poorly run.

In this article, I review Cramer's 2010 list from early August 2010, looking at each company's stock performance and the "worst" CEOs current whereabouts. Then, I offer up my own selections of worst CEOs for 2011.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK)
: Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Current status: No longer CEO.

Stock price when Cramer made the call: $9.56. Stock price, as of Tuesday's close: $5.34. Good call by Cramer.

United Continental (NYSE:UAL): Glenn Tilton. Current status: Now non-executive chairman.

Tilton made the list, but Cramer refused to endorse the sentiment of many of his viewers, noting that Tilton got the job done for United, pre-Continental merger. Of course, UAL stock has languished dropping from $22.61 when Tilton found himself on Cramer's list to $17.13 at Tuesday's close.

Health Management Associates (NYSE:HMA): Bill Schoen. Current status: Still chairman.

Schoen represents another candidate Cramer did not want to see on the Wall of Shame, against some viewers' wishes. When Schoen made the list, HMA traded for $7.26 a share. It closed Tuesday's session at $8.79.

Wellpoint (WLP): Angela Braly. Current status: Still president and CEO.

Cramer must have been in a good mood when this list was released. He backed Braly at the time despite her consideration for the Wall of Shame. At the time, WLP shares were worth $54.24 each; they ended Tuesday at $63.94. Chalk another one up for Cramer.

Airtran - Acquired by Southwest (NYSE:LUV): Robert Fornaro. Current status: A consultant on the merger and $2.9 million richer after the Southwest merger.

Cramer was bullish Fornaro. Things ended up working out pretty well as the airline Fornaro ran became an attractive takeover target. Score another for Cramer.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ): William Weldon: Still CEO.

Stock price when Cramer went bearish Weldon: $59.67. Stock price, as of Tuesday's close: $63.43. Cramer missed on that one.

AES Corporation (NYSE:AES): Paul Hanrahan. Current status: Still president and CEO.

Cramer went both ways on Hanrahan, noting that he "seems like a good candidate, but on the other hand, the whole power generation industry has done badly lately." As for the stock, it has been a bit wishy-washy as well. It was at $10.54 when Cramer's list came out. It traded for $11.73 per share at Tuesday's close.

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): Stephen Schwarzman. Current status: Still CEO.

Cramer hammered Schwarzman pretty hard: "These private equity guys are supposed to be geniuses, so how come he’s losing so much money for his shareholders?" At the time of Schwarzman's inclusion on the list, BX shares went for $11.56 each. As of Tuesday's close, they traded up to $16.00. Cramer might have missed the mark here.

Pendola's 2011 Worst CEO List

Research in Motion (RIMM): Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. This one needs no explanation. Pour yourself a cup of green tea or pop the top on a bottle of Blue, read these works of great literature and then try to come up with a sane reason as to why these two do not belong at the top of every worst CEO list this side of Nunavut.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Carol Bartz. Here's another that is next to impossible to argue with. It's not simply that Bartz presides over Yahoo's poorly-focused "never-ending turnaround," but she does it with as little class as possible. Strong words, yes, but Bartz has brought it on herself.

Citigroup (NYSE:C): Vikram Pandit. He's not affectionately known as Pandit the Bandit for no good reason. I remember being a holder of C $5 calls before the company's Q4 2010 earnings report back in January. Heading into the report, Pandit got the longs all fired up by penning an overly-optimistic note to Citigroup employees. An earnings miss promptly followed the letter. And thanks for the penny per share dividend, Vikram, we won't spend it all in one place. It helps ease the sting of C's poor post-reverse split performance. C $5 calls will likely be out of the money before the underlying stock sees $50 a share again.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.