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4 CEOs Who Are/Were Reportedly Grumpy Cats

4 CEOs Who Are/Were Reportedly Grumpy Cats

The world inhabited by Fortune 500 CEOs is undoubtedly filled with long days, long nights, lots of espresso and lots of pressure. If the old saying, that “to whom much is given, much is required,” is true, a lot is required of these guys and girls.

It is no wonder, then, that many top CEOs of the past and present are said to be very short-tempered, and not the kind of people you want play around with. Though the ranks of Fortune 500 leaders may have its fair share or groovy cats, today we will take a look at four of the Fortune 500’s 'grumpy cat' CEOs.

Steve Jobs

By now everyone knows that the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder was said to have been a fiercely demanding leader. It reportedly didn’t take much to get on his grumpy side. For example, Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson recounts a time when Jobs chewed out an elderly Whole Foods employee because she wasn’t making his smoothie the way he thought she should. He reportedly felt bad about the incident later.

Billionaire visionary or not, that’s just plain grumpy – and one of many such stories told by those who knew Jobs.

Related: 3 Ways To Profit From Incompetent CEOs

Tim Armstrong

How grumpy does a CEO have to be in order to single out and ridicule employees whose babies were born with health problems, and then proceed to more or less blame them for the company’s healthcare costs?

You have to be of AOL's (NYSE: AOLTim Armstrong-level grumpy to do that. It may be hard to believe, but this story is exactly what was reported of the AOL CEO in a 2012 Reuters piece.

Carly Fiorina

Former head of personal technology giant Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Carly Fiorina, earned her way onto our grumpy list the old fashioned way – by having employees train their own replacements and then firing them.

This kind of tactic smacks of something dreamed up in the union busing days of the 19th century. But it was Fiorina who put the supposedly cost-saving technique to work in the 21st century. According to a 2008 Entrepreneur magazine article, some employees booed her at company meetings. It appears that grumpiness is contagious.

Larry Ellison

The Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) head is known for being incredibly grumpy, and incredibly rich. Ellison has made just about as much money and just about as many enemies as anyone in Silicon Valley.

Take this example from 2010: After Mark Hurd was let go from Hewlett Packard following a sex scandal, predictably all of the business media elite voiced their opinions about the move. Ellison voiced his opinion by writing to the New York Times that this was an “idiot” move, on par with Apple letting go of Steve Jobs years before – though not for sexual indiscretions. This caused Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt to comment that, perhaps, Oracle had lower ethical standards than HP, and he went on to insinuate that Ellison himself had perhaps gotten his hands dirty around the Oracle office in a similar fashion.

Ellison, true to grump billionaire fashion, fired back with an email – the subject line of which was “Hey Jerk.” In it, Ellison reminded Elmer-Dewitt that the woman who had accused him of sexual harassment had gone to jail for a year on perjury charges.


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