Sunoco: Lynn Elsenhans (CEO & Chairperson)
Why this is a big quit:
After spending almost four years as the CEO transforming Sunoco’s business structure from refining and manufacturing into building oil pipelines and fuel retailing, Lynn Elsenhans ran out of steam in February 2012. Elsenhans took over in 2008 and she was named #10 Most Powerful Women by Forbes in the following year. One reason being she was the first woman to lead a major oil company in the typically male dominated industry. Elsenhans was willing to take the challenge and refocus Sunoco when the fuel demand plummeted the most in 27 years. At time of resignation, Sunoco’s share price recovered far above their lows, and in December 2012 trade over 40% higher than when Elsenhans started.
Why it’s not as big as our Top 10:
Though widely credited for keeping it alive, under Elsenhans’ leadership, Sunoco sold and/or shuttered two-thirds of its assets. Sunoco also lost $660 million during its fourth quarter in 2011, wiped out by over capacity for refining, including a refinery built in 1902 and now shut down, after failed attempts to sell it to over 150 other companies. The company is far away from its successful transformation, but Elsenhans, having completed her vision for streamlining, will stay on as Chairman for several months to ensure a smooth transition.