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Glassdoor Q4 CEO Watch List: Another One Bites the Dust – Rob Glaser

Since Glassdoor began reviewing CEO approval ratings in 2008, we’ve been monitoring the lowest-rated CEOs on through our quarterly Watch List. Since then, six CEOs from the list left their respective buildings – until last week, when Rob Glaser of Real Networks brought the number to seven. Glaser was on the list in the first three quarters of 2009, and although his approval rating had edged up slightly in Q4, last week it was announced he is leaving the company, effective immediately. As of January 1, 2010, Glaser’s approval rating was 21%. He joins a notable group of now departed CEOs:

The CEO ratings report is based on quarterly analysis conducted by Glassdoor’s analytics team to see which leaders (with a minimum of 50 CEO ratings) are gaining points among their employees and which ones are worthy of making the CEO watch list. The Top and Bottom rated CEOs are outlined below.

The CEO Watch List* (Lowest Rated CEOs):

Frost & Sullivan CEO Krishna Srinivasan is the lowest rated CEO on our Watch List for the second quarter in a row. At the end of Q4, he had a 3% approval rating. Srinivasan is followed by LexisNexis’ Andy Prozes (7% approval), and Xilinx’s Moshe Gavrielov (10% approval).

Here are some recent reviews from employees with one of the three lowest rated CEOs:

“Krishna is a smart guy but the bloke has not worked anywhere else in his life so he does not have any idea of what world class companies look like.” Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst (Palo Alto, CA)

In advice to senior management, a Xilinx Staff Software Engineer writes: “Xilinx needs to return to its core values, placing people above profits. Cutting vital engineering jobs is a short-sighted strategy that only serves to demoralize the workforce and weaken the products.”

“Please either drop the “employee engagement” campaign or put your best effort behind it.”LexisNexis Manager (Cary, NC)

While there does appear to be a correlation between the Glassdoor list of lowest-rated companies and low CEO approval ratings, five companies on the Watch List run counter to this trend as employees rate their opinion of the company as “satisfied” (3.5 or higher) or “neutral” (2.5 – 3.4) versus “dissatisfied” (2.4 or lower). The company satisfaction ratings ask employees how they would rate: career opportunities, communication, compensation & benefits, employee morale, recognition & feedback, senior leadership, work/life balance, and fairness & respect.

Of these companies with neutral ratings, Sun Microsystems has the highest company rating (3.2) on the Watch List, but CEO Johnathan I. Schwartz has just a 20% approval rating from employees (as of 1/1/10). Others companies with low CEO approval rating but moderate company ratings include:

• Amgen: 3.1 company rating, CEO Kevin W. Sharer 20%
• Pfizer: 3.0 company rating, CEO Jeff Kindler 19% approval
• Kimberly-Clark: 2.8 company rating, CEO Tom Falk 18% rating
• Nortel Networks: 2.8 company rating, CEO Mike S. Zafirovski 11% approval rating

Highest Rated CEOs*

The highest rated CEO is General Mills CEO Ken Powell who for four consecutive quarters has made the #1 CEO on – he holds a 96% approval rating. Powell has held on to a very stable approval rating among his employees. Plus it can’t hurt Ken Powell when his company reports positive earnings in one of the worst recessions in history.

Powell is followed by Southwest Airline’s Gary Kelly (94% approval) and Apple’s Steve Jobs (91% approval). Notably Southwest Airlines and General Mills, respectively, were the top two highest rated companies in Glassdoor’s Annual Employees Choice Awards, 50 Best Places to Work in 2010. Apple came in #22.

“Work Life Balance -the company encourages people to do what it takes to be their best at work.”General Mills Sourcing Manager (Golden Valley, MN)

“Southwest really tries to take care of their employees with good communication materials, open discussions between upper management and junior employees, and good relations between the TWU and IAM unions representing southwest employees.”Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent (location n/a)

“Great Atmosphere. Helpful colleagues. Lot’s of enthusiasm. Helpful management with lots of training.”Apple Hardware Engineer (location n/a)

How does your CEO rate? Want to sound off on your approval or disapproval? Be sure to complete a review and rate your company and CEO ( Don’t worry: it’s anonymous.

We’d love to hear from you about your past work experiences and how a good or not so good CEO has impacted your career or job satisfaction.

* Ratings provided as of 1/1/10