NEW YORK — Ron Johnson's short-lived tenure as J.C. Penney Co.'s CEO will go down as one of the biggest flameouts in corporate America, as he lasted only 17 months. But Johnson isn't the only executive to be pushed out after failing to live up to big expectations. Here's a look at a few major ousters in recent times:
CAROL BARTZ, YAHOO: Yahoo hired technology veteran Bartz in 2009 with the goal of bringing in a no-nonsense leader who would develop a clear vision. Bartz shook up Yahoo's management and instituted a cost-cutting program that helped boost the company's earnings. But revenue failed to grow even as the online ad market grew at a rapid clip. After more than 2½ years of financial lethargy, Yahoo fired Bartz in 2011. Bartz said she was informed about the firing over the phone by the company's chairman.
LEO APOTHEKER, HEWLETT PACKARD: When HP hired Apotheker in November 2010, it was seen as an aggressive push by the company into the software business. Apotheker was supposed to be a steady hand to steer HP out of a tumultuous time, but his strategic decisions were drastic and did little to inspire confidence. He was doomed by disappointing earnings and a fumbled announcement that the company's personal computer division was for sale. Apotheker was also one of the chief backers of HP's acquisition of British software company Autonomy, which HP paid $10 billion for. After just 11 months, Apotheker was forced out and replaced by former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
BOB NARDELLI, CHRYSLER: Nardelli was hailed as an outsider who could help save the U.S. auto industry by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which installed him as the head of Chrysler in August 2007. But Nardelli, who spent most of his career in the executive ranks at GE before leaving to run Home Depot, had no experience in the complex business of auto manufacturing, and it showed. Instead of investing to improve Chrysler's substandard lineup, Nardelli focused on cutting jobs and closing plants. By the time the financial crisis hit in fall 2008, Chrysler was already in serious trouble. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April 2009. When it exited bankruptcy that June, Nardelli was out and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne took over.