HR Strange But True!
July 01, 2005

Fast Company, a magazine for business executives, uses its July issue to answer the immortal question, "Is your boss a psychopath?"

Psychopaths, the magazine explains, are that 1 percent of the general population who aren't burdened with consciences. They "have a profound lack of empathy," "use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends," and "seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators."

Sound like anybody you know?

With this knowledge, Fast Company compiled a list of the most notorious bosses of all time, and they include:

  • Martin Davis, who celebrated his rise to the top at Gulf & Western by firing his enemies - which emptied out the entire the top floor of the company's Manhattan skyscraper.
  • Walt Disney. "The man behind the Mouse," Fast Company reports, "was a suspicious control freak - a dictatorial boss who underpaid workers, clashed with labor organizers, made anti-Semitic smears about the other Hollywood studio heads, and wouldn't give due recognition to Mickey's real creator, animator Ub Iwerks, supposedly Disney's oldest friend."
  • Ivan Boesky, a "Scrooge-like employer who routinely screamed at his staffers and made them all work the Friday after Thanksgiving, when he called many times to make sure they were still at the office." After serving time for securities fraud, he emerged "as a tanned La Jolla beach dude - and never said he was sorry."
  • Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer of Enron. "Fastow could be so hot-headed that he once got into a punch-out with a taxi driver over 70 cents," according to Fast Company. "Pocket change, indeed, compared to the $24 million in illicit gains he agreed to give back when he pleaded guilty to securities fraud - or the billions of dollars lost by shareholders when his secret schemes triggered the company's collapse."
  • Harold Geneen, described by the magazine as "history's most dictatorial accountant" because of his leadership of ITT in the 1960s and 1970s. His MO: "publicly humiliating his top 120 executives every month at grueling, four-day, 14-hour-long meetings that made some of them physically ill."

The list is rounded out by John D. Rockefeller, Leona Helmsley, Armand Hammer, Henry Ford, and "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap.

Source: Fast Company

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