Business News: The 25 Worst-Performing CEOs

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In a perfect world, good pay reflects good performance. Leave guests satisfied as a server, and you’ll frequently earn a generous tip. Close a big deal as a salesperson, then collect a sizable commission check.

For CEOs at public companies, theoretically, the same should be true. Your goal is to put more money in shareholders' pockets and, ideally, your pay should reflect your ability to do that. Sure, CEO pay can sometimes seem high, but if a $1 million salary comes hand-in-hand with a $1 billion increase in company value, that’s a salary well deserved.

But what about when someone is generously compensated for poor performance?

At FindTheCompany, we set out to determine the 25 worst-performing — but handsomely compensated — CEOs.

First, we started with executives who made over $10 million in 2014 — including salary, stocks and bonuses. Next, we tracked stock performance over the same year for each executive's company.

The following 25 CEOs all saw their company stock prices tumble by more than 20 percent, all while pocketing tens of millions of dollars. They’re like the server who got a 25 percent tip after failing to bring out the entrees.

We'll start with the 25th worst, then work our way up to the worst performer of all.

Additional Notes and Caveats

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission assigns stock awards and other longterm bonuses to a single year, even if the CEO will only see the value of those shares over the course of several years. As a result, some CEOs can experience the perfect storm of a bad year alongside a one-time, extra-generous compensation package. This can make an executive look particularly bad, when over time, the numbers won’t look quite as ugly. We’ll attempt to provide caveats and context for CEOs where the numbers might inflate their high-pay-to-poor-performance ratio.

#25. Martin H. Richenhagen

Company: AGCO Corporation
2014 % Stock Price Change: -22%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.7 million

Sandwiched between a great year (2013) and a decent year (2015), 2014 was a down year for farm machinery and equipment manufacturer AGCO. As such, Martin Richenhagen makes the worst-performing list, but the company's future outlook is more neutral than negative.

#24. Robert D. Lawler

Company: Chesapeake Energy Company
2014 % Stock Price Change: -22%
Total Compensation in 2014: $14.7 million

Like several other oil and natural gas companies, Chesapeake Energy Company has been on a two-year slide, thanks in part to the falling price of oil.

#23. David T. Seaton

Company: Fluor Corporation
2014 % Stock Price Change: -23%
Total Compensation in 2014: $12 million

After hitting a stock price peak in January 2014, Fluor Corporation — an engineering and construction company out of Texas — has seen its stock price tumble nearly every month since.

#22. David G. Dewalt

Company: FireEye
2014 % Stock Price Change: -23%
Total Compensation in 2014: $13.6 million

Following FireEye's big September 2013 IPO, the company's stock price soared — it was the network and Internet security firm of the future. Then it all crashed in just a few short weeks in mid March 2014. The company continues to soldier on, but investors' high-flying expectations have come way down since.

#21. Anthony G. Petrello

Company: Nabors Industries
2014 % Stock Price Change: -23%
Total Compensation in 2014: $14.8 million

Nabors Industries is an oil and natural gas driller, another corporation hit by the overall struggling state of the industry. The company's stock price has continued to fall since the end of 2014.

#20. David M. Zaslav

Company: Discovery Communications
2014 % Stock Price Change: -24%
Total Compensation in 2014: $156 million

David Zaslav made by far the most money of any executive in 2014, grabbing more than $150 million (mostly in stock awards). While this looks particularly ironic next to the company's stock performance the same year — down 24 percent — Discovery had surged more than 300 percent since 2007.

Whether 2014 remains a one-off, negative blip, or something more ominous, remains to be seen.

#19. Bernard J. Duroc-Danner, PhD

Company: Weatherford International
2014 % Stock Price Change: -25%
Total Compensation in 2014: $14.9 million

Another oil and natural gas victim, Weatherford International had a particularly rotten 2014. The silver lining? The company's stock price has held relatively steady in 2015.

#18. Stephen A. Wynn

Company: Wynn Resorts
2014 % Stock Price Change: -25%
Total Compensation in 2014: $25.3 million

For the Las Vegas resorts corporation, 2013 was a huge growth year. Regrettably, 2014 was the mirror opposite, a year in which the company lost just about everything it had gained. More concerning: The company's stock price continues to drop precipitously in 2015.

#17. Andrew G. Inglis

Company: Kosmos Energy
2014 % Stock Price Change: -25%
Total Compensation in 2014: $12.4 million

Kosmos Energy has suffered the same fate as other oil and gas companies, with a falling stock price in 2014, and a slightly better — but still disappointing — 2015.

#16. Ram Chary

Company: Everi Holdings
2014 % Stock Price Change: -27%
Total Compensation in 2014: $11.7 million

Everi Holdings provides slot machines and other gambling equipment to casinos, and — like Wynn Resorts — the last two years have been particularly bad. The two companies' stock prices have fallen in tandem.

#15. Sheldon Gary Adelson

Company: Las Vegas Sands
2014 % Stock Price Change: -27%
Total Compensation in 2014: $12 million

While Las Vegas Sands' 2014 was as bad as its fellow casino companies, its 2015 has not been quite as terrible as the other gaming companies on this list. Sheldon Adelson's firm has only seen a 22 percent stock drop in 2015.

#14. Harold G. Hamm

Company: Continental Resources
2014 % Stock Price Change: -29%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.8 million

Continental Resources benefited especially from the North Dakota oil boom of the last half decade, a resource bonanza that allowed the state to weather the financial crisis better than any other part of America. Unfortunately, Continental Resource's stock fell hard in fall 2014, losing almost all of its progress in just three months.

The stock has most leveled out since, but the damage remains significant.

#13. Steven L. Mueller

Company: Southwestern Energy
2014 % Stock Price Change: -30%
Total Compensation in 2014: $11.5 million

The most concerning oil and natural gas company yet, Southwestern Energy not only saw a 30 percent stock loss in 2014, but is on track for a 67 percent loss in 2015.

#12. Lisa T. Su

Company: Advanced Micro Devices
2014 % Stock Price Change: -32%
Total Compensation in 2014: $11.7 million

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been a semiconductor and computer processor stalwart for several decades.

Here, the overall state of the PC market is likely to blame. As consumers move toward mobile devices, semiconductor makers are eating the losses.

#11. Adam L. Miller

Company: Cornerstone OnDemand
2014 % Stock Price Change: -33%
Total Compensation in 2014: $11 million

Cornerstone OnDemand helps big companies manage their workforce throughout the life of each employee's career. Here, we see our second example of 2014 making things look worse than the overall context. While Adam Miller was indeed compensated $11 million in a year where the company lost a third of its stock price value, the corporation had a strong 2013 and has had a neutral 2015.

In other words, it's unlikely that Miller will continue to make the list in future years.

#10. Jeffrey L. Ventura

Company: Range Resources
2014 % Stock Price Change: -35%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.7 million

Yet another Texas oil and natural gas company to make the list, Range Resources has the worst numbers yet, with a 35 percent stock price drop in 2014, and a 2015 that's on pace to lose an additional 42 percent.

#9. Richard C. Adkerson

Company: Freeport-McMoRan
2014 % Stock Price Change: -38%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.1 million

Freeport-McMoRan is one of the world's largest producers of copper and gold. The company saw two stock price peaks, one just before and one just after the 2008 financial crisis. The corporation has since seen its stock price tumble consistently, having recently hit its lowest point since 2002.

#8. Richard E. Muncrief

Company: WPX Energy
2014 % Stock Price Change: -41%
Total Compensation in 2014: $17.6 million

An oil and natural gas company with an emphasis on fracking, WPX Energy has gone the way of much of its compatriots, although its 2015 will likely turn out just a bit better than its 2014.

#7. Peter M. Carlino

Company: Gaming and Leisure Properties
2014 % Stock Price Change: -42%
Total Compensation in 2014: $20.6 million

Gaming and Leisure Properties joins its fellow gaming-related low-performers. The company owns more than 20 casinos, and operates two of them. The only semi-good news here is that the company will likely only see its stock price drop about 7 percent in 2015.

#6. James J. Volker

Company: Whiting Petroleum Corporation
2014 % Stock Price Change: -45%
Total Compensation in 2014: $12.7 million

There's been no good news for Whiting Petroleum Corporation since August 2014, when the company began a massive stock price descent. The company is still waiting for its big acquisition of Kodiak Oil and Gas Corporation to pay off.

#5. Sherilyn S. McCoy

Company: Avon Products
2014 % Stock Price Change: -45%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.2 million

Avon Products sells beauty, household and personal care products, largely through retail stores. Online sellers like Amazon likely have contributed to the company's decline over the last five years.

#4. Joseph H. Bryant

Company: Cobalt International Energy
2014 % Stock Price Change: -45%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10 million

This oil exploration company focuses on North America and West Africa. While the company's 2013 and 2014 were particularly bad, the stock price has begun to stabilize in 2015.

#3. Carl Trowell

Company: Ensco PLC
2014 % Stock Price Change: -47%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10.3 million

Ensco PLC is one of the world's largest offshore drillers. The past two years have been especially disappointing for the company, as the corporation has seen its stock dive more than 40 percent in back-to-back years.

#2. Philip K. Asherman

Company: Chicago Bridge & Iron Company
2014 % Stock Price Change: -49%
Total Compensation in 2014: $14.3 million

While Philip Asherman places second on this list — his construction and engineering company lost 49 percent on its stock price in 2014 — this might be the best example yet of context making him look even worse. Asherman's company had a solid 2013, and the company has only lost 1 percent of its stock price in 2015.

#1. Mark E. Ellis

Company: Linn Energy
2014 % Stock Price Change: -67%
Total Compensation in 2014: $10 million

Of all the oil and natural gas companies on this list, Linn Energy has easily fared the worst over the last two years. In 2014, the company's stock price dropped 67 percent. Through most of 2015, the stock price dropped an additional 80 percent.

Although nothing seems to be going right in the oil industry, it's safe to say that Ellis has not performed well. Combine his company's performance with over $10 million in compensation, and you get the worst-performing CEO in America.

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