Who were the worst wireline CEOs of all time?

Worst Wireline CEOsWhile the editors at FierceTelecom spend a lot of time talking about the ongoing evolution of the telecom business, there's always a leader behind every company who influences their respective successes and failures.

So just what makes a good leader? Is it vision or the fortitude to understand market evolutions and trends? Or is it a strategy that led them to profitability?

Just as importantly, what makes a bad leader? It's easy to point out those whose own corruption brought down the companies they led. But for others it's not so clear. Is it a lack of vision, or the wrong vision, on the part of a CEO? Is it a lack of action in a crisis? Is it just plain bad luck when the company a leader was responsible for goes over a cliff?

As we get ready to carve into our Thanksgiving turkeys, we decided it might be as good a time as ever to look at five of the biggest wireline turkeys in our industry segment: the biggest failures of leadership in wireline's history.

Like our colleagues at FierceWireless recently pointed out in their feature, Who are the worst wireless CEOs?, the wireline industry has had its share of failed leaders. Some of the leaders who made our list were driven by their own personal greed to rob their company's fortunes by inflating income or others just lacked the foresight for growth and success. As you'll see, many of these CEOs and chairmen came to to power during the same era as those FierceWireless profiles: the dot-com bubble and the troubled aughts. 

No doubt, there will likely be other candidates that you think we may have missed, so we welcome your comments and suggestions about this list.

Bernard Ebbers Bernie Ebbers, Worldcom
Joseph Nacchio Joseph Nacchio, Qwest
John Rigas John Rigas, Adelphia Communications
Gary Winnick Gary Winnick, Global Crossing
Mike Zafirovski Mike Zafirovski, Nortel Networks