25 Epic CEO Gaffes and Misdeeds

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CEOs behaving badly is hardly new news. But some corporate leaders make such epic mistakes that they deserve a spot on the horrible CEO Hall of Fame.

Here are 25 of the fine specimens who, sometime during their careers, committed some seriously potent sexual, financial, and even bison-shooting gaffes:

25. Tony Hayward

Image: World Economic Forum/Flickr

BP sent Tony Hayward off to deal with Russian oligarchs after the CEO failed miserably at verbally handling the Gulf oil spill. Hayward seems to become a walking faux pas the second a television camera points in his direction. Shortly after the oil rig explosion that led to the massive Gulf spill, Hayward was recorded emitting gems like ““I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest” and “What the hell did we do to deserve this?”

When the hobbit-like Brit finally accepted that his company’s oil was threatening to destroy an entire ecosystem, he said he was sorry. Followed by “I would like my life back.” When such gaffes caused his public approval rating to plummet to negative numbers, he publicly responded with “I’m a Brit. I can take it.” Hayward was replaced by American executive Bob Dudley not long afterwards. Now, he’s heading TNK-BP, a joint venture with Russia.

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We assume he’s taking the frigid Russian winter like a true Brit.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.