These are the ten scariest (worst-rated) CEOs on Glassdoor for October

3 months ago by James Mattone in Features, Trends

What is one of the scariest things you can be for Halloween? A nightmare of a boss.

These days, quantifying employees' opinions about the companies they work for has been streamlined by Glassdoor, a website where people can post anonymous workplace reviews. Employees can even rate the person in charge of the company, which allows potential job seekers to get an idea of their would-be chief executive.

While the website touts a yearly list of the best ranked CEOs every year, there are plenty of chief executives that lie on the opposite end of the spectrum. A few months ago, we ran a list of 10 CEOs who have the worst approval ratings on the website to coincide with Glassdoor's best-of list.

In celebration of Halloween, we take another look at the 10-worst-ranked CEOs for the month of October. We only considered companies with at least 100 ratings in order to statistically pad any small or new companies that haven't had a significant number of reviews. We also include the CEO's lowest and highest rating of the month in order to understand any movement in rating throughout the month. Furthermore, we removed "group CEOs" on Glassdoor (i.e. Apttus), as that indicates the company does not have a sole chief executive.

With that in mind, here's who employees were consistently rating as the worst for October 2018:

10. Michael Polk — Newell Brands ($NYSE:NWL)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 20%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 18%

Michael B. Polk made early strides with Newell, turning it around in 2012 with the "Growth Game Plan" to make it profitable. Once the company acquired Jarden in April 2016 for $15 billion however, the company's outlook — and Polk's CEO rating — began a slow-but-steady strip southward.

In March 2018, Polk got into a spat with Office Depot over how Newell's products were promoted, resulting in a $50 million drop in sales. From that point on, Polk's CEO approval rating on Glassdoor plummeted.

What does Newell Brands manufacture, you ask? A lot. Not only does it manufacture Sharpies, Paper Mate pens and Elmer's Glue, but also Yankee Candles, Mr. Coffee makers, Graco baby products, Crock-Pots, and Rubbermaid, just to name a few brands.

9. Elisa Stephens — Academy of Art University ($ACADEMYOFART)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 18%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 18%

As granddaughter of the Academy's founder, Stephens faced a scathing Forbes profile in 2015 which painted the art school as a place that is "selling art degrees and false hopes."

Today, Stephens and the university is fighting a suit in federal court over claims that the academy defrauded the U.S. government of millions of dollars in student loans and grants.

8. Edward S. Lampert — Sears ($NASDAQ:SHLD)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 18%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 17%

An unsurprising member of this list given Sears' recent filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

With the former retail colossus crumbling and closing stores for the past two years, employees are understandably upset about losing their jobs. As a result, they're turning to Glassdoor to air their grievances.

7. Jim Foote — CSX ($NASDAQ:CSX)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 18%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 17%

This head of the holding company focused on rail transportation and real estate stepped up from COO to CEO after a tumultuous 2017.

Then, hedge fund Mantle Ridge, which held nearly 5% of the company's stock, demanded that the company make major changes to its board of directors and management. After bringing in railway executive E. Hunter Harrison, who was known for turning around Canadian National Railway, several CSX executives stepped down. Harrison then died in December of that year, prompting Foote to step up to CEO.

Following a reset of the CSX CEO approval rating after Harrison's death, Foote's rating climbed back up close to 50%, but then started to decline as the company looks to sell off some of its tracks.

6. Kathy Bufano — Bon-Ton Stores ($NASDAQ:BONT)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 18%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 16%

A "dead company," Bon-Ton simply couldn't survive the retail apocalypse. It began 2018 by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and liquidating assets in April.

Post-mortem, Bon-Ton's Glassdoor profile continues to get updated with reviews about the company from former employees, with some laying into upper management for not adapting with the times.

5. George Sebolt — The Art Institutes ($ARTINSTITUTES)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 14%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 10%

Another art school makes the list, but unlike the Academy of Art University, The Art Institutes has been in deep decline in 2018.

The Art Institutes was once a network of schools for aspiring artists with more than 50 campuses across America. Now, the for-profit network is suffering from a decrease in enrollment, prompting layoffs and other issues across its campuses.

A week ago, its Seattle campus laid off all but 3 full-time teachers. This follows a trend that will see 18 schools close this year, as institutes from Detroit to Nashville are no longer accepting new students.

With the Institutes' future in pure uncertainty, former teachers and other employees are not pleased with President George Sebolt.

4. Dean Rogers — RadioShack ($OTC:RSHCQ)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 13%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 12%

Even after two bankruptcies, RadioShack is still surviving under Dean Rogers.

The company is now living through HobbyTown stores, where it will operate 100 Express locations. As it enters yet another chapter on life support at 97-years-old, RadioShack is still under a transition period, and Rogers is getting little relief from employee reviews on Glassdoor about it.

3. Giorgia Candido — Lenscrafters ($NYSE:LUX)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 13%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 11%

A part of the Luxottica Group, Lenscrafters has General Manager Giorgia Candido at the helm. Although not much about him has been in the news, employees at the lowest levels are complaining about low pay and business practices anonymously.

2. Richard Howson — Carillion ($LON:CLLN)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 12%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 11%

The former second largest construction company in the U.K. had a mighty fall in early 2018, liquidating itself after controversies shook the foundation of its business.

Since 2015, Carillion faced major debt concerns despite huge projects within the United Kingdom and overseas. Its collapse cost thousands of people jobs, financial losses to tens of thousands of suppliers, and over a hundred million pounds worth of losses to U.K. taxpayers.

In short, Carillion was an absolute mess this year, and post-mortem approval ratings for its CEO Richard Howson understandably tanked.

1. Ralph P. Scozzafava — Dean Foods ($NYSE:DF)

CEO Approval Rating (Max): 8%

CEO Approval Rating (Min): 6%

Unfortunately for Ralph P. Scozzafava, our worst-ranked CEO in June, he is still at the bottom of the Glassdoor barrel.

Joining Dean Foods in 2014, Scozzafava is still getting blamed for upper management issues, with the most recent review painting a frightening picture of the "largest fluid milk company in the United States" for investors and employees.

At one point in August, he had a 2% approval rating among employees who submitted reviews about the company. While his rating has since "stabilized" back to 6%, he still is the worst-ranked CEOs on Glassdoor today.

Hopefully, all of these CEOs can turn around their ratings, lest potential employees be scared away of working at these companies.

James Mattone

James is a recent Boston University graduate who calls the world of esports and video games his home. As a young journalist, he has already covered two E3 expos a...

Request a demo

We would love to show you how Thinknum will benefit your investment process. To get started, fill out the form and we'll contact you shortly to schedule your demo.

Get Thinknum Media in your inbox

Start the day off with Numbers You Need To Know and sign up for our Weekly Digest.