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Hacking, sales to Iran and appearing before congress – the dark sides of popular CEOs

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It's easy to admire some CEOs as they're people that have the drive and work ethic to make things happen.

Running a company, whether it's huge or just a handful of employees, is not easy.

The person at the top is in charge and takes credit when the company does well - in some cases justifying truly enormous salaries - and also takes the punishment if the company fails.


There are even some cases of CEOs being sent to prison for their actions.

So it's not easy.


Influential CEOs can change the world for the better.

They can make a difference; but in some cases that difference isn't always a positive one.


We take a look below.

Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs)

When it comes to being admired and well-known by people, it's challenging to beat Lloyd Blankfein. 

He had an employee approval rating of 94 percent, and most of those who work for him are happy that he's in charge.

This says something about his leadership style, mainly since employees say their leaders play a massive part in how they choose to work. 

However, in 2010, Goldman Sachs was charged by US Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud linked to subprime mortgages.

When interviewed about this, Blankfein swore to congress his business never deliberately shorted mortgage-back securities to boost profits.

He was accused of lying and therefore committing perjury, but no charges were ever brought against him.

Blankfein stood down as CEO in 2018 - having earned around $240 million.

The banking giant was cited as being one of the causes of the 2008 financial crash, but was never prosecuted by the US government.

Numerous other controversies happened during his reign.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/Meta)

"You can be unethical and still be legal; that's the way I live my life."

This was said by the CEO and Chairman of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and it may give you a glimpse into how the CEO of the world's most famous social media site looks at the idea of values.

It's no secret that Zuckerberg has a shady side, but the truth is that occasionally you need to be rough to get ahead in business.

Zuckerberg has been blamed for using Facebook login details to break into accounts and read confidential emails.

Business Insider reports on one occasion he hacked a rival social network site to sabotage social profiles and make it difficult for users to find one another.

Larry Page (Google, Alphabet)

Google is a company that's on the verge of world domination.

Package delivery drones, self-driving cars, and even genocidal robot armies have a place in the Google family.

In theory, Google may have the means to overthrow the world government and enslave human life, it doesn't mean it is going to.

After all, the business's motto is "Don't be evil."

Former CEO Larry Page takes this slogan to heart, and Google is often praised as one of the most employee-friendly companies in the industry.

However, Page himself was regarded as being difficult to deal with.

He was described as being highly withdrawn, to the point of rudeness.

It was said during meetings, that he disengages and ultimately refuses to pay attention to others.

Some employees describe him as "an egomaniacal a*****e" and "kind of a jerk."

And while he was highly respected amongst his staff, many people felt he wanted to make as little human contact as possible.

Therefore, ruling the planet might just mean a bit too much human interaction for him.

Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard)

Research has shown that unhappy employees cost the economy roughly $300 billion annually.

In many cases, when there's an aggrieved employee, there's a terrible boss not far off, which could be Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina became CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999.

She was the first-ever female head of a FORTUNE 100 company and seemed as if she would be a good fit.

However, her leadership came with many problems from day one and got worse as time went on.

She exploited loopholes in export sanctions by using foreign subsidiaries to sell millions of dollars of computer equipment to Iran.

Back at home, her leadership was giving her own company many issues.

Because of this, it left 30,000 workers jobless, and roughly 80,000 others agreed to either give up accrued vacation time or take pay cuts.

She increased her salary and bought a private jet while her employees were near poverty.

She was forced to resign in 2005, then the company's stock increased by 6.9 percent. It looks like getting fired was the best thing that she did for HP.

She also ran for president in the 2015 election for the Republicans, but was unsuccessful.

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