Retensa’s Top 10 “Biggest Quits” of 2011
Annual review of the most significant voluntary resignations in the United States.
New York, NY, January, 2012 – 2011 saw more organizations lose employees after 20 months than 20 years. We passed the tipping point of settling into the same office, at the same company, and putting in your 40 years. Does this reflect a cultural trend, as American’s quest for instant gratification leads to jumping from one “It” company to the next? Maybe it is a result of the ever-present volatility, manifesting in erratic stock prices, uncertain national credit ratings, Occupy protests at home and the Arab Spring abroad. Whatever the source, this trend is reinforced by a change in how we process and receive information. A greater breadth of news is more immediately accessible and instantly updated than ever before. It compels us to digest short, condensed slices, and experience a fleeting feeling before moving on to the next 140 character emotion. But aren’t careers supposed to be longer than 140 characters? As in previous years Retensa identifies the “Biggest Quits” across all industries highlighting the year’s most important departures spurred by poor planning, poor support or poor talent strategy on the part of the organization. We are pleased to present the seventh annual publication of Retensa’s Top 10 “Biggest Quits” – the most intriguing turnover stories of 2011.
Steve Jobs (Co-Founder and CEO): Apple Pioneer. Visionary. Ruthless. Genius. When Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple in August many words were echoed by both those who knew him personally and those who competed with him. Jobs passing away in October, after his eight year battle with pancreatic cancer, created an unprecedented outpouring of appreciation for a corporate CEO. Jobs’ list of business accomplishments is extensive. However, his contribution to advancing of modern technology is incalculable. Jobs was synonymous with the Apple brand....read more
George Mitchell (Chief Middle East Envoy); Dennis Ross (Middle East Envoy): US State Department As the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East unfolded it was clear that a new era of democracy would appear. What would will it be? During a period of democratic upheaval and change, Washington would want to provide stability and consistency to the region, if not leverage the opportunity. Instead, two of the State Department’s top ranking Middle East appointments resigned between May and November. At a delicate juncture, the White House Hilary...read more
Theo Epstein (General Manager and Executive Vice President): Boston Red Sox Epstein was the golden boy in Boston. Hailed as a wunderkind, the Yale alum became the youngest General Manager in MLB history in 2002. It took him only two years to end the Red Sox 86-year “World Series curse”. He put an exclamation point on his career by orchestrating the Red Sox’s second title in 2007. Epstein successfully blended “Big Market” Baseball with the statistical savvy portrayed in “Moneyball,” to win honors as a top sports executive of the decade from...read more
In December of 2010 Groupon was projected to make $1 Billion in sales faster than any company in history. Groupon turned down a buyout offer from Google shortly after. In June, Groupon filed with the SEC to go public. However, their business model is as revolutionary as it is replicable. So concerns about Groupon’s stability and long term viability grew as well. Some reports go so far as to claim Groupon owes over $200 Million more than it has, further complicating how to value the company. Georgiadis’ short tenure may give credence to such...read more
Regis Philbin (Talk Show Host): ABC Broadcasting After holding the Guinness World Record title for most hours spent in front of a TV camera (16,780 to be exact), the long time Live! with Regis and Kelly talk show host signed off on November 18, 2011. For over 28 years American started their day with “Reege” and let him into their homes with his easily excitable yet warm personality. After working his way up the ranks as an NBC page for The Tonight Show in the 1950s, and hosting many other programs including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and...read more
Robert Gillette (CEO): First Solar First Solar is the world’s largest solar company. So it was a big quit when the CEO, Robert Gillette, stepped down after just two years. Once the CEO’s departure was announced, First Solar’s stock spiraled downward 25% and dropped even more by year’s end. Gillette’s exact reasons for leaving are still unclear. Morgan Stanley said his “unexpected departure is likely a troubling sign of things to come”. Adding fuel to the fire, Gillette is only the most recent of several First Solar leaders to jump ship this...read more
Barney Frank (US Congressmen): Democratic Party 71 year-old U.S. Congressman Barney Frank will be remembered as a pioneer to many in the United States, pariah to others. In 1987, the Harvard Law graduate announced to America that he was gay, making him the first Congressmen to voluntarily do so. He continued to fight for gay rights legislation for much of his 30 year tenure. It will be difficult for both the LGBT community and liberal Democrats to replace him in Congress. Politicians are often criticized for their actions, and Frank is no...read more
Jim Sinegal (Co-Founder & CEO): Costco Founding the world’s third largest retail chain from a single Kirkland, Washington store is no small feat. Jim Sinegal, Costco Co-Founder and CEO, is retiring at the end of this year after 28 years with the successful company he built. Both consumers and Costco employees alike admire Sinegal as he refused to lay off workers or cut employee benefits, and limited increasing Costco’s prices during difficult economic times. Sinegal’s success is based off of his core values that include honesty,...read more
Phil Jackson (Head Coach): Los Angeles Lakers Most professional athletes and coaches hope for one magical season where everything aligns and they bring home a championship for their city. Phil Jackson doesn’t have enough fingers for his 12 rings. One as a player and 11 as a coach (6 with the Chicago Bull and 5 with the LA Lakers). Some claim that Jackson had it easy, coaching all stars and hall of famers like Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone. Others praise the Zen Master and say no...read more
Martin Staff (Head of Business Development) and Tom Casey (President): American Apparel Martin Staff, a 40 year veteran of the fashion industry, left after only 6 months. Tom Casey, with 25 years of experience in retail, departed shortly after, lasting only 11 months at American Apparel. Dov Charney, American Apparel’s founder and CEO, is a polarizing figure to say the least. His aggressive and contrarian style of leadership is criticized, and his level of professionalism has been questioned. At the same time, his position as a fair-wage and...read more