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Worst CEO of the Year, Round 2: Zynga vs. Groupon

By Sean Williams - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:00PM

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Four CEOs remain, but only one can be called The Motley Fool's worst of 2012.

Following eight straight weeks of profiling the worst CEOs, and the first week of actual community voting, it's time to unveil which four CEOs are moving on to the semifinals and still have a shot at being dubbed the worst CEO in 2012.

The methodology behind the voting is simple. Similar to an NCAA-style basketball bracket, the eight CEOs were pitted into four matchups last week that the community had one week to vote on. This week we're releasing the results of the previous week's voting, and the remaining four CEOs are again going to be bracketed for voting. Voting will continue over the next two weeks until we have a winner, which will be unveiled at the beginning of December.

As you can see, the ball really is in your court and you do have a say in who merits the coveted title of The Motley Fool's chosen worst CEO of the year. Below the voting bracket I've included a recap of last week's voting, as well as a quick synopsis of this week's match-up; however, I encourage you to revisit the nomination article for a more complete explanation of why that particular CEO was nominated for this dubious honor.

Last week's recap:

  • Zynga (ZNGA -2.04%) out-farms Facebook (FB 1.41%): Keep in mind that this is a matchup you don't want to win! By a vote of 63% to 37%, the Motley Fool community has determined that Mark Pincus' executive exodus and questionable insider sales (as well as pitiful stock performance) far outweigh Facebook's botched IPO and lack of mobile revenue to date.
  • Groupon (GRPN 22.22%) out-deals Barclays (BCS 0.60%): Daily-deal site CEO Andrew Mason apparently isn't a crowd pleaser among our community as the Groupon CEO garnered 68% of votes compared with Bob Diamond's 32%. Perhaps simply being the figurehead of Barclays during a tumultuous time for the company just wasn't enough to crown him worst CEO of 2012.
  • Best Buy (BBY 8.97%) mutes Talbots: Like Groupon, Best Buy's earnings report left a lot to be desired by investors. Brian Dunn's missteps in foreseeing an industrywide shift, as well as his inappropriate relationship with an intern, proved to be viler than Talbots' CEO Trudy Sullivan's selling the company to a private equity firm for lower than it was previously offered by the same firm. Even though Dunn moves on by a vote of 57% to 43%, I'm not sure anyone won here!
  • Chesapeake Energy (CHKA.Q) hits the gas past Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY 0.14%): Lastly, the self-serving ways of Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon proved too great for Bristol's poor decision-making (i.e., its Inhibitex purchase), as McClendon garnered 56% of the vote compared with just 44% for Lamberto Andreotti.

Semifinal matchup: Zynga vs. Groupon
In this battle royale between two social-media icons, Zynga's Mark Pincus will be pitted against Groupon's Andrew Mason to determine who indeed has been the worst performer of these two. On one hand we have Zynga, which has sunk nearly 80% since its debut, has failed to attract more paying customers, and has seen nearly 10 executives leave the company, all while Pincus and other execs cashed in some of their shares. In the other corner we have Andrew Mason, whose stock sank almost 90% from its highs as accounting snafus have regularly rocked the company and profits have been elusive. Which social-media CEO has been the worst of them all? You tell us!

Check back for results
Be sure to check out the other worst CEO semifinal matchup at the following link, and check back next week when we unveil the results and highlight the final round of voting to help determine who is The Motley Fool's choice for worst CEO of 2012.

Will Zynga's inability to keep key talent hurt its chances for long-term survival, or is its partnership with Facebook strong enough to foster future growth? Find out the answer to this question and much more by getting your copy of our latest premium research report on Zynga. Packed with in-depth analysis on the opportunities and threats facing Zynga -- and complete with a year of regular updates -- this report will give you the tools needed to make smart long-term investing decisions. Click here to learn more.

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Stocks Mentioned

Zynga Inc. Stock Quote
Zynga Inc.
$8.18 (-2.04%) $0.17
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$183.83 (1.41%) $2.55
Best Buy Co., Inc. Stock Quote
Best Buy Co., Inc.
$80.06 (8.97%) $6.59
Chesapeake Energy Corporation Stock Quote
Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Groupon, Inc. Stock Quote
Groupon, Inc.
$13.97 (22.22%) $2.54
Bristol Myers Squibb Company Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb Company
$77.24 (0.14%) $0.11
Barclays PLC Stock Quote
Barclays PLC
$8.42 (0.60%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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