Herb Greenberg, columnist for Marketwatch
, has savaged Take Two CEO Paul Eibeler, naming him worst chief executive officer on the planet and leaving perceived failings at the company firmly as his door.
“I'm proud to announce that this year's winner of the Worst CEO of the Year award goes to none other than Paul Eibeler of Take-Two Interactive”,” wrote Greenberg. “Eibeler is the latest in a revolving door of CEOs at the video game maker, having taken the post in January for what amounts to a second tour of duty in the company's executive suite. He left in April of 2003 on 'medical leave' only to resurface three months later as president of Acclaim North America - a job he held for just three months. He rejoined Take-Two in April 2004 as president, before his elevation to CEO. (Acclaim, meanwhile, filed for bankruptcy liquidation in August 2004). Eibeler's climb to the top coincided with founder and ex-Chairman Ryan Brandt's topple by regulators to a non-executive position in the wake of accounting issues. As of fiscal 2005's proxy, filed last May, Brandt was still the company's highest-paid executive; he now runs one of the company's high profile divisions, which itself has not done tremendously well. (But don't worry, he's not an executive).”
The editorial onslaught continued, “Eibeler, for his part, has done such a poor job getting his arms around the company that Take-Two has missed its own earnings guidance for multiple quarters. So far this year it has sliced earnings guidance by more than 60% to a range of 53 cents to 56 cents a share, after the company's hot-selling game, Grand Theft Auto, was given the dreaded 'adult' rating by the video software industry's rating group. The company has since suffered a series of setbacks on the rollouts of newer games - a perennial problem at Take-Two that appears to be getting worse.”
It remains to be seen if Mr Eibeler or indeed Take Two’s shareholders will react to the ‘award’.