When The Boss Quits: 10 Notable Executive Resignations

Recently, it was reported that Yahoo's Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh has quit the company. This news comes shortly after CEO Marissa Mayer fired COO Henrique De Castro, whose poor performance came with a price tag of over $100 million.

Prior to Singh’s stint at Editor-in-Chief at Yahoo, the position did not exist. It was created for Singh, who was recruited by Yahoo while he worked at Huffington Post. A former Managing Editor, Singh was on Yahoo’s radar for quite some time. Prior to his work at Huffington, Singh was responsible for the development of CNET News.com. Singh’s contribution and performance were never publicly questioned, whereas De Castro, on the other hand, faced many critics, specifically with regards to ad sales. When De Castro was fired, it came at a surprise for many both inside and outside the company – not because of his performance but mostly because of the money Yahoo invested in him. De Castro was hired in 2012, and eventually let go only 15 months later.

It’s too early to tell how the flurry of activity in the executive circle at Yahoo will impact its financial position, Poor ad-sales aside, Yahoo’s stock has steadily grown over the last 12 months. Since Mayer took over as CEO, the stock has nearly doubled. De Castro and Singh were both high profile executives who were recruited by Yahoo to bring about change. Perhaps this time around, Yahoo will look internally to fill the executive spot. Given that both executives came at a heavy price, it’s unlikely that Mayer will take a chance like that again. Singh’s compensation was no-where near De Castro’s, but he was still a targeted executive before coming on board. De Castro, a former President at Google, was signed to a $600,000 base salary plus bonus and $36 million in stock grants and another $20 million in stock to replace his Google shares.

Of course, these are just examples of two of the most recent moves, and both within one company. In light of the recent departures of high profile executives, let’s look at the top 10 most notable resignations.

10 Steve Cahillane Resigns As President of Coca-Cola Americas (2013)

Poor sales have forced Coca-Cola to shuffle executives and re-organize its North American business. Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas, left Coca-Cola to pursue a new opportunity.  The company, which also makes Sprite, Powerade, and Vitaminwater, has seen global sales volume grow in newer markets. In America, though, soda sales are declining. Cahillane was once expected to be a frontrunner to replace Muhtar Kent as Chief Executive Officer.

9 Joshua Schachter (Founder Of Delicious) Resigns From Yahoo (2008)

Joshua Schachter, the founder of the Delicious social-bookmarking platform, which was a technology service Yahoo acquired in 2005, left Yahoo in 2008 following an anticipated exodus of key executives. Schachter released his first version of Delicious (then called del.icio.us) in September 2003. The service was built around the use of tagging and social bookmarking, a common technology now used by most social media companies. Schachter would eventually find work at Google for about a year after leaving Yahoo.

8 Manu Anand And John Compton Resign From PepsiCo (2012/2013)

To the surprise of many, Manu Anand, PepsiCo President of India and South Asia had resigned, in circumstances described by many inside the company as abrupt, unexpected, and not amicable. Pepsi's Asia-Pacific loss of market share to rival Coca-Cola was the contributing factor. Within a month, Anand was hired by Cadbury.

John Compton’s resignation was also a surprise for many inside the company. Compton was appointed PepsiCo Inc.’s President in March 2012. Compton was originally brought in to help with restructuring and re-shuffling executives and departments. Instead, Compton resigned, leaving PepsiCo to deal with even more change.

7 Rick Wagoner Resigns As GM Chief Executive (2009)

Named one of the worst CEO’s of 2008, Wagoner was forced to resign by the White House. Wagoner’s departure was part of the government’s bailout strategy, designed to revive the once-proud American automotive manufacturer. Under Wagoner, GM’s sales performance and market valuation rapidly declined, and the company lost over $80 billion. Chrysler would later receive about $6 billion and complete an agreement with Italian automaker Fiat.

6 Ron Johnson Resigns From Apple (2011)

Ron Johnson was one of the key executives in leading Apple’s retail store strategy. Under Johnson’s leadership, Apple’s retail stores racked up a record billion dollars.  The company’s novel approach to tech sales was a wild success, and made it the most efficient retailer (sales/area) in America. Johnson left Apple in 2011 to take over as CEO at JCPenney. To-date, his departure is considered Apple’s highest-profile loss since Jobs’ death.

5 Dan Nye Resigns As Chief Executive at LinkedIn (2008)

Chief Executive Dan Nye resigned from LinkedIn after two years. Nye was replaced by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Nye would eventually move on to be the President and CEO of Rocket Lawyer. That site provides online legal services to individuals and small-to-medium sized companies. Under Nye’s leadership, Rocket Lawyer has double its revenue for 4 straight years, and has now reached approximately $20 million in annual revenue.

4 Jeff Weiner Resigns As Yahoo's Executive Vice President (2008)

Jeff Weiner worked with Yahoo for nearly 7 years.  Before resigning, he was the Executive Vice President.  Weiner is regarded as key to Yahoo’s early success, such as when it acquired AltaVista. He was also one of the executives behind the development of Yahoo’s search tool. Weiner left Yahoo to accept the CEO position at LinkedIn. Under Weiner’s leadership, LinkedIn has experienced steady growth, with memberships continuing to climb.

3 Sheryl Sandberg Resigns As Google's VP of Global Online Sales (2013)

2 Marissa Mayer Resigns As Vice President of Maps And LS From Google (2012)

1 Steve Wozniak “Resigns” As Engineer From Apple (1987)

Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s co-founders, resigned in 1987. In 1975, Wozniak created the company’s first computer with co-founder Steve Jobs. Wozniak’s resignation was under specific terms and conditions that allowed him to remain an employee of Apple and receive a stipend, estimated to be $120,000 per year. The year after Wozniak “resigned,” or terminated his full-time employment, Apple’s revenue grew nearly 53%.

More in Companies