Tenure: 3 months
Robert Willumstad was chairman of the board of directors for American International Group from 2006 to 2008. On June 15, 2008, he became its CEO. While many people would likely relish the opportunity to head a major financial corporation, he had been handed the controls of what was essentially a sinking ship.
Willumstad succeeded Martin Sullivan, who came in 15th on Portfolio.com's 2009 list of the worst American CEOs of all time and who had set AIG on its irrevocable path to ruin. As such, Willumstad had the dubious honor of being in charge when the stock price plunged by 97 percent. After that, the federal government took control of the company and bailed it out, and AIG became synonymous with the 2008 financial crisis.
Willumstad was officially out of a job in September 2008, three months after he was hired, although to his credit he refused to accept the $22 million severance package the company offered him.