Business Winners and Losers 2003

The opening bell of the stock market finally stopped sounding like a funeral chime in 2003, but that doesn't mean everyone was a winner.

Allegations of greedy behavior this year put many high-profile businesspeople on the hot seat — and on our list of losers. Among the winners, a few made the list not for their impressive portfolios but for their gumption in shaping the various business worlds where they dwell. Without further ado, here are the good, the bad and the unhappy for 2003:


Dick Grasso: The scrappy chairman of the New York Stock Exchange became the target of a mob of investors and market watchers in August when they learned he had amassed $139.5 million in benefits and savings during his tenure at the NYSE — and he was cashing it in. Then it turned out he was due another $48 million in vested funds. Grasso defended his blue-chip payout by saying the exchange's board approved every nickel. He said he responded to his compensation every year with a simple "I'm blessed. Thank you." But by September, so many were calling for his head that he had to resign as the big boss of the Big Board. He hasn't been heard from since.

Dennis Kozlowski: The lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the former head of Tyco International Ltd. went on display this year at Kozlowski's trial. Prosecutors allege he and the company's former financial chief fleeced the firm of about $600 million. Among the most eye-popping allegations: Kozlowski threw the most notorious toga party since Animal House, decorated his various homes like wings of the Louvre and bought his maid a $6,000 shower curtain — then allegedly stuck shareholders with most of the tab. Jurors got to see videotapes of much of it, including a $2 million birthday bash Kozlowski threw for his wife. Jimmy Buffett provided the entertainment. Now some people claim that there's a woman to blame. But the Manhattan district attorney says it's Kozlowski's own darn fault.

Lord Conrad Black: While Lord Black, former CEO of Hollinger International Inc., was finishing up his biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was allegedly cooking up a New Deal of his own: pocketing millions in deal-related fees that angry shareholders say should have gone right to the company. The uproar that ensued sent this British Lord a-leaping from his post as CEO of the newspaper company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Telegraph in London, though he remains its chairman and controlling shareholder. Black later said he'd have to sell "a lot of books" to repay the dough. Lord knows he's right.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...