Facebook alienated its investors in a particularly public fashion, which was played out for days in many major media outlets in the U.S. and abroad. Its IPO was one of the most widely anticipated since the dot-com public offering bubble years of 1999 and 2000, which was immediately followed by a collapse in the value of many of those offerings. From its IPO price of $35, the stock fell to below $20 in less than three months. Facebook has had customer satisfaction issues for some time, but recently did a particularly good job of alienating a portion of its nearly one billion members. According to the ACSI, Facebook is one of the most strongly disliked American companies, beaten out only by three public utilities companies. This comes in part from the company’s continuing user privacy concerns. Mark Zuckerberg’s company did not help itself in this regard in 2012, after it announced that it had the right to republish any and all photos in the accounts of its Instagram users.
5. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)
Citigroup sacked CEO Vikram Pandit late last year, after he had shepherded the bank through the financial crisis and then fired thousands of workers as well. That, on its own, would be enough to destroy employee morale, but the bloodletting was not over. Pandit’s successor, Michael Corbat, said he would fire 11,000 more. The bank’s board may have been frustrated with the pace of cost reductions under Pandit, but that was not the only issue that the board apparently believed had hurt long-term shareholder value. Pandit’s mishandling of the sale of its Smith Barney unit caused Citi to write down $2.9 billion, and the action triggered a cut in its credit ratings by Moody’s. Such actions did not endear Citi to investors. The recovery of Citi’s shares since the global financial meltdown has been far worse than its major competitors. Citi’s relationship with its customers has also been awful. It took a place on the MSN Hall of Shame of the 10 worst companies in America based on customer service. Its ACSI ratings, already low, further plunged in 2012. According to Interbrand, Citi’s brand value dipped 12% last year, and is now only two-thirds that of rival J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).
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6. Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM)
The RIM BlackBerry was once the preeminent smartphone in America and around most of the world. According to recently released data from Comscore, its share of the market has dropped to 7.3% in the U.S. and is falling rapidly still. After the launch of the BlackBerry Storm, which was roundly criticized by consumers, RIM was unable to release a consumer product that attracted any meaningful sales. Several service outages further harmed its reputation and angered customers. In 2011, RIM launched a tablet PC — the PlayBook — in an attempt to move into that market. RIM took a $485 million writedown on unsold units. The company’s latest smartphone, the Blackberry 10, has been delayed for months. RIM’s customers have been the lucky ones, actually. The company has fired thousands of employees in an attempt to restore profits. Shareholders have fared very badly as well. RIM’s share price is off by over 20% in the last year, and 80% in the last two years. To top off these troubles, Interbrand reports the BlackBerry lost 39% of its brand value last year.
7. American Airlines
AMR, parent of American Airlines, has, in a remarkably short period of time, ruined its relationships with shareholders, bondholders, pilots, customers, suppliers, and most of its other employees. The November 2011 Chapter 11 filings of AMR virtually wiped out shareholders. Recently, American was also able to cut financial obligations to airplane manufacturers and holders of the corporation’s debt, harming the financial status of these. The company has been bickering with its pilots for months over compensation. The mass layoffs that often accompany bankruptcy proceedings began long ago. American’s image with passengers has also taken a beating. It was recently named the U.S. carrier with the rudest employees. It was also ranked the worst carrier in America based on customer service, according to the ACSI.
Nokia recently lost its long-held position as the largest handset company in the world, giving up the spot to Samsung. A greater failure for the company has been its tremendous disaster in the smartphone market, where its brand and distribution muscle should have given it some advantages. But over the last five years, starting with the year the iPhone was released, Nokia has squandered any leverage it might have had and has permanently lost a position in the rapidly growing smartphone sector — mostly to Apple and Samsung. Nokia grabbed at what was probably its only chance to become relevant in smartphones again. It formed an alliance with Microsoft to use the Windows mobile OS in its new line of products. The launch of the resulting Lumia product line was botched. Newer versions of the Lumia line have not caught on. The prices of the most recently released models have already been cut, presumably to help boost flagging demand. As Nokia has fallen behind in the smartphone race, its shareholders have had to contend with a sickening drop in the value of its shares. The stock is down 20% in the last year, and 60% in the last two years. All of these factors have contributed to a loss in one of Nokia’s most important assets — its brand value. In its 2012 report, Interbrand has the company losing 16% of its value.
9. Sears Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD)
Earlier this month, Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio stepped down due to “family health matters.” His legacy is one of unsuccessfully attempting to give two iconic American brands — Sears and Kmart — some stability. He leaves the company with chairman and founder Eddie Lampert, who will become the fifth CEO in seven years for the faltering retail giant. Over the past five years, Sears shares have dropped by roughly 60%. In the most recent reported quarter, the company lost nearly $500 million in the most recent quarter, and more than more than $2.8 billion in the most recent reported 12 months. Meanwhile, main competitors Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) have both handily outperformed the S&P 500. According to the ACSI, the company has the second worst score of any large discount retailer, better only than Walmart. Employees of both Sears and Kmart stores also rate their experience at the company as poor.
The case against Hewlett-Packard is devastating. According to the ACSI, HP was the second worst-ranked personal computer brand in 2012. HP may also be the most mismanaged major company in the U.S., which gives shareholders a reason to turn on it as well. Five years ago, the company had annual net income of more than $8 billion. In the 12 months ending in October, HP lost $12.6 billion. The company shares are down more than 40% in the past year. Further complicating matter is HP’s acquisition in October 2011 of British data company Autonomy, which is now under investigation for fraud for misrepresenting its value. HP may have lost billions in the deal. Last year, in an attempt to restructure and stop the bleeding, the company laid off 27,000 employees, more than double any other company in 2012. Employee research firm Glassdoor reports HP is also disliked by its employees.